x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Workers' sacrifices for Eid money

Thousands of expatriate workers struggled this year to send money home during Ramadan.

Expatriates send money home at one of the UAE exchange branches.
Expatriates send money home at one of the UAE exchange branches.

Thousands of expatriate workers struggled this year to send money home during Ramadan, often sacrificing essentials such as food to ensure their families had extra cash for Eid. With the global recession forcing reductions in salaries and overtime pay, many workers had to save for months and cut back on basic expenses to send the same amount as previous years.

"This is the attitude of the people living here, especially those without families," said KV Shamsudheen, the chairman of an organisation that advises expatriates on how to manage money. "They are sacrificing necessities so that there are no restrictions in spending back home." Shaikh Ahmad, a construction worker from Bangladesh, sent his family 20,000 taka (Dh1,100), the same amount he has sent at Ramadan for the past decade.

"I just put away a little money each month," he said. "It is hard but I managed to do it. "Since I am not married, the money goes towards looking after my parents and two sisters. During this time of the year, I like to make sure that they are not sad. I know they miss me, but they should celebrate, also." sbhattacharya@thenational.ae pmenon@thenational.ae