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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 20 June 2018

Two unlicensed nurseries closed by authorities in Ajman

Due to expensive fees, a number of residents resort to what are known as 'home nurseries'

The inside of an illegal home nursery raided and shut down in 2013, where 17 children were found in the care of one woman.
The inside of an illegal home nursery raided and shut down in 2013, where 17 children were found in the care of one woman.

Two nurseries found to be operating in Ajman without business licenses have been shutdown by the emirate's Department of Economic Development in cooperation with the Ministry of Education.

The department acted after receiving a complaint about the two nurseries.

Majed Al Suwaidi, director of the Control and Consumer Protection Section at Ajman’s DED, said a tighter supervision on all educational institutions in Ajman – including nurseries – is needed in order to ensure they abide by laws and regulations. He warned that action will be taken against violators.

“The department is regularly inspecting educational institutions and nurseries to check if their licenses are valid and if they are complying with the set requirements. These regular inspections aim to protect the next generation, promote parents’ rights, and shield our children and society from any risk or danger,” he said.

Due to licensed nurseries’ expensive fees, a number of Ajman residents resort to what are known as “home nurseries”, which operate outside of the authorities' control.

“I work from 12 to 12 now and I have no other place to take my daughter to. Even when I worked the 6am to 6pm shift, I struggled to find a nursery to care for my daughter. My only option was a home nursery because its cheaper, they start earlier and keep the child for longer hours,” said a Moroccan baker, who works for a hypermarket in Ajman’s Al Muwaihat area.

She said she pays the home nursery Dh600 per month, when legal nurseries request fees of between Dh1,200 and Dh1,500, an amount she said she can't afford with her low salary.

People running illegal nurseries are violating federal law number 5/1983, which strictly forbids home nurseries because they lack all health and safety requirements stated by the law and violators will face a fine of upto Dh10,000, said Emirati lawyer Awatif Mohammed from Al Rowad Advocates.

She explained that if any child was injured or died while under the care of the person running an illegal nursery, this person will face a criminal charge of assaulting the safety of the child's wellbeing.

“If the child is injured, the person could face upto two years in prison, according to article 349 from the penal code, but if, god forbid, a child died, the person will face up to ten years in prison as per article 336 from the same law,” said Ms Awatif.

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In 2015, a two-year-old Pakistani girl died after falling on her head in a nursery operating from the Dubai International City apartment of a 31-year-old woman from Pakistan.

“I visited the apartment to make sure everything was fine, then I kept my only child with her for Dh650 a month,” said the mother of the deceased girl.

The unlicensed nanny was convicted of assaulting the safety of the child and causing her death from an internal bleed triggered by head injuries sustained while in her care.

The court sentenced her to one year in jail to be followed by deportation, but later ordered the suspension of the sentence and the woman was deported immediately.