Dubai: Blue-collar kindness helps indebted and crippled expats return home after three years – News

“My health is now much better and I am very motivated to improve my financial situation,” said Farooq Piyara Masih.



Farooq at the airport, with Baharul, accommodation supervisor, and Ravi Santiago.

Published: Sat 26 Feb 2022, 08:52

Last update: Sat 26 Feb 2022, 22:47

All hope was lost for Farooq Piyara Masih, 54, when Khaleej times first met in 2019.

Indebted and paralyzed, Farooq has been languishing in a park in Karama for almost two weeks after losing his job in April 2019. A former sales and revenue manager for a large hotel group, Farooq had accumulated debts worth 400 000 Dhs.

At the time, a group of young Indian men, led by a social worker named Vibin, moved Farooq into a small room inhabited by blue-collar workers. Farooq’s plight drew national attention when workers opened their doors to him.

At this point, Farooq’s left hand and leg were paralyzed due to a stroke he had suffered a month earlier. He had been imprisoned after repeatedly defaulting on his loans and the court ordered him to pay 100,000 Dh to leave the country.

Today, after an excruciating three-year wait, Farooq finally returned home with his wife and children. A few days after Farooq’s story was published in Khaleej timeshis former employee immediately contacted him and provided him with much needed support.

How did Farooq get home?

From blue-collar housing, Farooq was moved to Ramada Hotel and Suites Ajman, his home for more than two years – from November 2019 to January 2022. The hotel provided him with free accommodation, food and medicine during this period. However, he was unable to return home to Pakistan due to unpaid bank loans and ongoing court cases.

“Farooq was a former employee of one of our hotels before moving to work at another hotel, losing his job and being crippled,” Ramada Hotels said. Khaleej times in a report.

“Seeing the news in Khaleej timesour company sought him out to offer free hosting,” he added.

However, the hotel group went above and beyond to repatriate Farooq. After constantly communicating with the banks Farooq owed money to for three years, the financial institutions finally agreed to settle and waive his outstanding payments.

“He received a re-entry permit a few weeks ago,” the statement added.

As Farooq no longer had a passport, the Pakistani mission in Dubai prepared a travel document for him. An ecstatic Farooq spoke to Khaleej times from Pakistan over the phone: “I am immensely grateful for the support that Ramada Hotels has given me. The hotel took great care of me,” he said.

Farooq had racked up debt in his attempt to support his family of five daughters. “I had taken out loans to provide them with a good life in Dubai. Unfortunately, I lost my job and could not repay the loans,” he added.

“My health is now much better and I am very motivated to improve my financial situation. I want to find work. My eldest daughter works and supports our family. I want to keep working, and God willing one day I want to go back to Dubai,” he added.

Ravi Santiago, Cluster General Manager, Wyndham Hotels Ajman, said, “It was really heartbreaking at first when we learned about Farooq’s story in Khaleej times. Fortunately, some kind-hearted workers, who didn’t even know him, temporarily provided him with food and shelter.

“We should always lend a helping hand to those who need it. As a company, we have a responsibility to take care of our employees, and even those who were once part of the family. Thus, we did not hesitate to welcome him, place him comfortably in the hotel and attend to his medical needs, which were all crucial in his condition,” Santiago said.

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“It was not an easy process dealing with all the organizations involved, but in the end all our efforts paid off when he was cleared to return home,” he said.

Baharul Islam, the staff accommodation supervisor at Ramada Ajman, was the one who arranged all of Farooq’s meals, monitored his health and looked after his personal needs.

Islam said: “I was with him at the airport and I was very happy for him because I knew the last three years had been difficult for him and at the moment he was delighted to be with his family. I wish him a full recovery, good health and a better future with his loved ones back home.

Elizabeth J. Harless