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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 14 December 2018

Goodwill gesture sees penniless and homeless grandmother and boy sent home

Zaina Abdul Al Kareem Ahmed spotted the pair crying by the roadside in Dubai and felt compelled to stop and help them out. They had been evicted and had wracked up visa overstaying fines of Dh100,000 between them

Grandmother Iodmela and grandson Ioe had racked up visa overstaying fines of Dh100,000 and were pleased to be able to return home to Uzbekistan. Zaina Abdul Al Kareem Ahmed
Grandmother Iodmela and grandson Ioe had racked up visa overstaying fines of Dh100,000 and were pleased to be able to return home to Uzbekistan. Zaina Abdul Al Kareem Ahmed

Left homeless and without their sole breadwinner, an uncertain future for a elderly lady and grandson took an upward turn with the help of a kind-hearted passer-by.

Thrown out of their apartment after the 71-year-old grandmother’s daughter had been jailed over a bounced cheque, the woman and grandson, 9, were by the roadside after their real estate agent’s car had broken down on their way to the police station, where the pair were going to seek help.

From Uzbekistan, the woman, Iodmela, and boy, Ioe, had racked up visa overstaying fines of Dh100,000 and, with nowhere else to go, were going to hand themselves in when a Syrian woman stopped to offer some help.

The woman, Zaina Abdul Al Kareem Ahmed, 33, spotted them on the street in Ras Al Khor with their luggage.

“They were stranded on the street after the car they were travelling in stopped due to a technical failure. An employee at a real estate company was taking them to a police station at the time after they were evicted from their home due to delayed payments,” said Ms Ahmed, a mother of one.

Zaina Abdul Al Kareem Ahmed spotted Ioe, 9, and his grandmother crying by the roadside in Dubai and felt compelled to help. Zaina Abdul Al Kareem Ahmed
Zaina Abdul Al Kareem Ahmed spotted Ioe, 9, and his grandmother crying by the roadside in Dubai and felt compelled to help. Zaina Abdul Al Kareem Ahmed

“The 9-year-old boy and his grandmother were crying on the street. I stopped my car and asked why they were crying and what was their problem. The real estate employee told me that they had been evicted from their apartment because they could not pay the rent for several months.”

Mrs Ahmed, who is also a PhD law student, said she felt compelled to help out. “My conscious doesn’t allow me to see people in need without helping them,” she said. “There is no more noble work than reaching down and lifting people up.”

So Mrs Ahmed coordinated with police and found the grandmother and boy a hotel room.

“The grandmother told me that they had been through financial problems that landed them in the street. I decided to help them and rented accommodation for them at the ibis hotel in Al Barsha,” she said.

“They were in a distressed situation as they looked very tired and extremely exhausted. The next day, I contacted the child protection centre and they coordinated with the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs.”

With the help of Mrs Ahmed and authorities, they managed to not only get the fines waived but also got the mother, Mertes, 38, released from jail and them all sent back on a flight to their homeland.

“The mother of the nine-year-old boy was jailed for bounced cheques and for absconding from her sponsor,” said Mrs Ahmed. “Her son and mother were on her residency visa and the boy’s father had walked out on his family and is currently living in Canada. The grandmother’s residency visa had been expired for four years and the boy’s for eight years and they had accumulated fines of Dh100,000.”

lodmela greets her daughter Mertes after she was released from jail over a bounced cheque. The family have now returned home to Uzbekistan. Zaina Abdul Al Kareem Ahmed
lodmela greets her daughter Mertes after she was released from jail over a bounced cheque. The family have now returned home to Uzbekistan. Zaina Abdul Al Kareem Ahmed

She said that the collaborative efforts of authorities in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Ajman helped them to return them home.

“The Dubai general directorate of residency in Al Awir waived off the fines of Dh100,000 and provided a ticket for the mother. Ajman authorities offered two tickets for the grandmother, the boy and gave them Dh1,000,” said Mrs Ahmed, who added that they were flying home within 10 days of her intervention.

“I booked accommodation for them for 10 days until their travel procedures were finalised. What I did is a humanitarian duty," she added.

Dubai Police certainly thought so and honoured the Syrian woman for her good work.