x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Runaway maids get free meal, health check

More than 100 hundred women staying inside a shelter in Dubai will have a free health screening and a meal starting next month.

DUBAI // The 120 women staying at a shelter inside the Philippine overseas labour office will get meal with their free health check next month.

The monthly service is being offered by the Philippine Healthcare Professionals Association - UAE (PHPA-UAE).

Maria Amparo Cruz, 33, a Filipina nurse in Dubai for the past 13 years, suggested the meal become part of the medical mission. Although the Philippine government is providing the women with food, it is often leftovers and many women are not eating properly. The group have held two monthly free check-ups at the labour-office shelter since the first one on February 4.

Ms Cruz said the majority of the maids at that session had been suffering from rashes, allergies and respiratory infections.

"Our aim is not only to provide them free food but to spread some cheer," Ms Cruz said.

Amilbahar Amilasan, the Filipino labour attache in Dubai, said the group's initiative helps the maids know that their fellow expatriates care about their plight.

"It makes these women feel that they are not neglected and there are groups trying their best to reach out to them," he said.

The women at the shelter, which is managed by labour and welfare officials, fled their employer's homes after complaining of a variety of poor treatment by their employers. Although new cases continue to arrive, the shelter is working to repatriate 72 women following a visit earlier this month by Jejomar Binay, the Philippine vice president.

The women will be seen April 8 from 2-6pm.

rruiz@thenational.ae