Helping Hands: A deserted mother’s battle
Each week, The National reports a case of a family in desperate straits and the work of Dar Al Ber Society in trying to aid them. Today, Rana and her three children need your help, writes Shireena Al Nowais
ABU DHABI // After divorcing an abusive husband who was on the run from the police, a Syrian mother and her three young children are homeless and penniless.
Rana, 35, and her children – aged 4, 6 and 8 – can be seen on the pavements of Sharjah, trying to sell abayas to passers-by. Police do not have the heart to arrest them and let them off with a warning.
“Some friends helped me and I buy abayas from Souq Naif and try to sell them to customers. I try to make enough to buy food for the children, but I am not always so lucky,” says Rana.
On a good day she makes Dh20 on an abaya she bought for Dh80. Her children are used to going for days without food, and sometimes that is the least of their concerns, she says.
“I am worried that they won’t survive,” Rana says. “My daughter’s temperature was above 40°C and I couldn’t do anything.
“I ran to the hospital and beg-ged them to let a doctor see her, but we have no insurance, no money and no identification. I have no proof that she’s even my daughter.”
Their father fled shortly after the divorce, with all their documents and no contact address.
“His phones are switched off and his family tell me he has fled the country. Even the police can’t find him.” They were married for nine years before Rana filed for divorce last year.
“After four years of our marriage he refused to renew our visas and we were all staying here illegally. My children never went to school and have not had their vaccines,” she says. “I begged him for years to renew our visa.”
Her husband owned a company that shut down in 2013 because of breaches of rules, Rana says.
“I stayed with him for nine years and he never paid a dime. He used to send me to beg and sell abayas.
“I couldn’t take it any more when I saw what was happening to my children. I was losing them. My eldest son stopped talking. He now stutters.”
The family sleeps in cars and sometimes at a friend’s house.
“A Syrian friend of mine, God bless her, lets us sleep in a room in her house but only when her husband is away.
“When he is home we sleep in her car.”
They cannot go back to war-torn Syria. “My father was killed in an air raid and our home was destroyed. My mother is taking care of two orphans and goes from charity to charity.”
Rana wants to fix her legal status so she can send her children to school and take them to hospital if they become sick. She applies for jobs but cannot be hired as she does not have residency.
Hisham Al Zahrani, manager of social services at Dar Al Ber Society, says: “The UAE’s position and feelings towards our Syrian brothers and sisters is well known. They need our support more than ever and we are doing our utmost to offer them assistance in these difficult times. Our humanitarian and charitable campaigns are ongoing.”
Mr Al Zahrani says Rana and her children “particularly deserve our charity because they have nowhere to go.
“The situation in Syria makes it impossible for them to go back, so it is our responsibility as human beings to extend a Helping Hand to her and her children.”
Updated: October 31, 2015 04:00 AM