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Social worker quits UAE after 36 years

Sharjah: "A few years ago, a father came to me with a six-year-old girl who was confined to the walls of her home all her life because she was born at home and had no legal documents. She never went to school or to a hospital and was not even allowed to play outside," M. Amanulla, a Sharjah-based social worker said.

The girl was born out of wedlock to an Indian father who was a laundry worker in Umm Al Quwain and a Sri Lankan mother who was working illegally in the country.

When the girl was a baby, her mother was deported to Sri Lanka after being caught in a police raid.

The father did not know what he needed to do and was too afraid to reach out to the authorities.

It was an amnesty period so, with the help of some Indian Consulate officials, Amanulla helped the man get outpasses for his children and he sent them back home to start a new life.

Amanulla said in the 36 years he has lived in the UAE, extending a hand to such people has become part of his life. Now he looks back at his years here, as he gets ready to go back to his home town in the southern Indian state of Kerala.

Resolving issues

From helping repatriate dead bodies of loved ones, to helping rescue women caught in prostitution rackets, to extending help for those in jail, Amanulla has helped numerous expatriates resolve their issues, many community members testified at a recent farewell gathering in his honour at the Sharjah Indian Association.

After reaching the UAE in 1976, and starting off with many odd jobs, Amanulla got his first office job as a temporary replacement for someone who was hospitalised after falling ill. But that person died in hospital.

What started off as just helping the family of that stranger, by sending home small amounts of money for their support, paved the way for years of humanitarian services, he said.

"People like Amanulla, who are aware of their social responsibilities, have made a difference in the lives of many expatriates living here," Nissar Thalangara, general secretary of the Sharjah Indian Association, said.

Amanulla said most of his time, after his job at Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority, is taken up by similar social commitments and involvement in cultural activities and gatherings organised by the Indian community here. "The little bit that I managed to do was only with the help and support of many kind-hearted people around me."

Similar efforts

Once back home, he intends to continue similar efforts with the support of his wife and two sons, he said.

Years ago, he came to the UAE with the intention of staying here for a few years, making some money and returning. "Like most people I too continued to stay."

He added that even though salaries were very low, life was much easier and less complex back then.

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