An Indian woman who came to the UAE to work as housemaid, but without an employment visa, was sent to Kish Island and spent almost two months there without any money but was rescued by the timely intervention of a social worker with the help of a UAE-based Indian TV channel.
Vinu Sherly, 52, was brought to the UAE by a recruitment agent on a visit visa.
“One and half months after reaching Ajman, my visit visa expired and my agent told me to go to Kish Island for visa change. The agent took the Dh1,500 that I had managed to save in one and half months and I went to Kish with a return ticket and just Dh 25. When I reached Kish Island, I did not have money to book into a hotel room. I did not know that I had to stay in a hotel,” Vinu told Emirates 24|7.
“When it was dark, some people helped me get into a hotel without paying money. I did not have money for food because I had spent Dh15 out of the Dh25 in hand on calling the agent in Dubai,” she said.
“I did not know what to do and lived in a hotel room with seven other people. Initially I just had a glass of water, but the Ethipians and Pakistanis who shared the room gave me something to eat. In the morning, the hotel used to give me some food even though I had not paid for the hotel room,” she said.
“Whenever I called my agent in Dubai, he would not take the phone or when someone else picked up the phone, they would tell me to be patient and stay in Kish,” she added. “After much persuasion, the agent agreed to send Dh300 and I got Dh290 after the money exchange took Dh 10 as service charge. This money was used to pay off dues to the hotel and for continued stay on the island.
“I thought, without money or other support, I will not escape from Kish Island. Fortunately, I met another Indian, Suresh Lal, who had also come to the island for visa change. He introduced me to NTV, a Dubai-based Malayalam TV channel available on E-Vision. “I have seen many other Kerlalite women stranded on Kish Island without money or anyone to help. I am lucky to have returned to the UAE,” she added.
“When we heard about her plight, we cancelled all other regular programmes and aired a telephone interview with her from Kish Island. The programme was telecast live and many listeners responded with small contributions. We could raise Dh5,000 within a short time after the programme,” said Lean Jesmas, director of NTV.
“Four days ago, a friend of mine informed me about the problems the woman was facing. We confirmed the story and did a one-hour programme on her plight. We only had a copy of her passport with a black and white picture. She was brought on the show over telephone,” he said.
“We chased the agent and after the programme was aired on television, the agent agreed to help,” says Nish Melattoor, the programme anchor. “He was at first evasive, but now she has got a new visa,” he said.
The housemaid is back in Sharjah and is looking for a better job.