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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 16 November 2018

UAE documentary inspires donors to help father of two

A pair of Indian businessmen were so moved by A Place Called Home that they have decided to fund the education of the children of a labourer featured in the documentary.
The story of Bikram Singh appeared in the documentary A Place Called Home, commissioned by Abu Dhabi Media profiling the lives of five expat workers in the UAE.
The story of Bikram Singh appeared in the documentary A Place Called Home, commissioned by Abu Dhabi Media profiling the lives of five expat workers in the UAE.

DUBAI // Two Indian expatriates, touched by the determination of a father to give his two children every chance in life, have decided to step in and help.

The story of Bikram Singh, a labourer with developer Arabtec who uses his Dh1,500 a month to ensure his two children have a good education, was one of five told in A Place Called Home.

Produced by Abu Dhabi Media, owner of The National, the film moved businessmen M S and G K to pay for the education of his children Harpreet, 18, and Karnbeer, 16. Harpreet is studying law and Karnbeer science.

“The film was an eye opener,” said M S. “Bikram’s salary is only Dh1,500 after living here for 16 years. His daughter is brilliant and wants to do something in life.

“We will fund her studies. If she wants to pursue a judicial course for a year or two after her bachelor’s, we’ll pay for that too. This is our responsibility to society.”

Mr Singh was taken aback. “I’d be very grateful if they did this and was honoured by the way they spoke to me. It made me realise people still worry about each other.”

“My daughter wants to be a judge so she can help someone in the future,” Mr Singh said.

The businessmen, from Mr Singh’s state of Punjab, have asked friends to contribute.

“I have seen many films on real life stories,” said Mr Singh. “What made A Place Called Home special was the fact that the filmmakers went to the native places of the people featured, met their parents, wives and children, so we know it’s genuine.”

Harpreet also wanted to thank the businessmen.

“In today’s world no one gives you money,” she said. “It will make a difference if they help. I will remember this my whole life.

“I just want to thank them. They are like father figures to me and are helping me. I give them a big salute from my side.”

John Sammon, director of A Place Called Home, was delighted that his film had provoked such a positive response.

“When these two men told me their plan to help Bikram in such a profound way, I almost couldn’t believe it,” Sammon said. “Bikram’s life has been dedicated to the education of his children.

“I’ve been to their home. They live in a room and can’t even afford a refrigerator, but somehow Bikram has managed to send his kids to the best private schools in the area. They have made extraordinary sacrifices to make this happen.

“Bikram is a lovely man, with a beautiful family and I was so happy to hear this great news.”

arizvi2@thenational.ae