Sixty-year-old Umm Ali of Saudi Arabia lives in a straw cottage as she cannot afford a house although her country is the world’s largest oil exporter.
With three sons and four daughters, Umm Ali has been living in that cottage on the fringe of a tiny Saudi village for more than five years following her divorce.
In winter, she struggles to put up with cold bites while in summer she becomes prey to the scorching desert heat and insect bites.
Umm Ali lives on a monthly government allowance of only SR800 (Dh798), which is hardly enough to feed her children, let alone rent a house.
The woman has a primitive lifestyle as she has no electricity and other facilities of the modern life. When night envelops her little cottage, which is made of straw and tree branches, she resorts to a small lantern to break the darkness and dispel the fear of wilderness in her children’s hearts.
“In summer, Umm Ali and her children, some aged only a few years, drink hot water as she has no fridge or other devices to cool water…she struggles to protect her children from insects and poisonous reptiles although she has been bitten many times,” the Saudi Arabic language daily Ajel said in a report from Al Ahsiba village near the western town of Qunfuda.
“Umm Ali is appealing for charity organisations and benevolent people in the kingdom to help her in getting a house that will protect her and her children against cold, rain, sand storms and summer heat.”