Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 1 April 2020

Sharjah Ruler gives resident land and the chance to build a home

Abdulrahman Al Balooshi's housing application stalled after the death of his Emirati wife but the Sharjah Ruler heard of his plight on the radio

Abdulrahman Al Balooshi, 46, has been granted a plot of land and money to build a home in Sharjah by the emirate's ruler, after Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammed Al Qasimi heard of his plight on the radio. Khushnum Bhandari for The National
Abdulrahman Al Balooshi, 46, has been granted a plot of land and money to build a home in Sharjah by the emirate's ruler, after Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammed Al Qasimi heard of his plight on the radio. Khushnum Bhandari for The National

An Omani citizen who spoke of his desire to own a house on the radio has been granted land and money for a family home on the orders of the Sharjah Ruler.

Abdulrahman Al Balooshi, a 46-year-old father of four Emirati sons, called a Sharjah radio programme on Tuesday to tell of his struggle after his housing grant was withheld when his Emirati wife passed away.

The live show, The Direct Line (Al Khat Al Mubasher) is a popular platform for Sharjah residents to share concerns with government officials.

Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, the Ruler of Sharjah and a regular listener of the show, heard the difficulties Mr Al Balooshi endured after his wife died of cancer in 2010.

The Ruler directed authorities to provide the Omani with a plot of land and a housing grant.

“It was the happiest day in years and no matter what I say, I can't express how grateful I am to Sheikh Dr Sultan and his continuous support to those in need,” said Mr Al Balooshi, who works with Dubai Police.

Mr Al Balooshi's wife was diagnosed with stomach cancer in 2008.

“We applied for a housing grant in 2006 and in 2008 my wife was diagnosed with stomach cancer so we had to leave the country for treatment and didn’t have the chance to follow up with the application,” he said.

They returned to the UAE in 2009 after a year in London.

He went to the housing department in Sharjah months after his wife’s death to review the housing application and was informed it had been held.

His four sons, now between ages 18 and 24, were minors at the time and did not hold Emirati citizenship. The children of Emirati mothers and non-Emirati fathers cannot apply for Emirati citizenship until age 18.

Mr Al Balooshi re-applied for the grant when his children received Emirati citizenship in 2018. The application was rejected on the basis that his adult sons were too old to apply under their mother's name.

The family moved from Ajman to Abu Dhabi to live with relatives in 2011.

“My niece offered to accommodate us at her large house in Abu Dhabi so we moved there and still live with her,” said Mr Al Balooshi. “I kept trying to find a way to talk with the Ruler or even send him a message and that’s when I decided to call the radio programme.”

Mr Al Balooshi tried to call the programme many times without luck until last Tuesday.

“I felt that I finally got the chance to tell my story so I didn’t hesitate and hoped that Sheikh Sultan would hear it and he did,” he said.

The housing department contacted Mr Al Balooshi on Wednesday to request his paperwork and proceed with the grant.

“The programme called me afterwards to tell me the Ruler ordered a grant but I didn’t know the details until the evening when my son told me everybody is talking about me and Sheikh Sultan’s generous grant,” said Mr Al Balooshi.

“I’m really thankful and grateful to our great Ruler Sheikh Sultan and to the programme who helped me and many people to tell their stories and be heard.”

Updated: January 31, 2020 02:50 PM

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