Back in September, an amnesty-seeking pregnant Bangladeshi woman, Jannatul Ferdous, and her husband Mohammed Musa stared at a bleak future.
Their overstay fines had piled up to Dh119,000 ($32,000) and they could not avail of the visa amnesty for their two children, Mariam and Masood, due to non-payment of their hospital bills. With another baby on the way, they were struggling to make ends meet. Worse still, due to their "illegal" residential status and lack of medical insurance, hospitals were charging an exorbitant amount for her delivery.
We highlighted their plight on September 13. Thanks to the timely report, help and support has come through for the family, giving them a new lease of life. Ferdous and Moosa have been granted a job-seeker visa by the UAE immigration authorities and their overstay fine was pardoned.
What's more, the hospital has also waived off a large part of their bill. "Thumbay Hospital waived off Dh7,000 ($1,905) of the approximately Dh12,000 ($3,266) delivery charges. We had to pay a lesser amount, and it was a huge relief," said Ferdous.
Interestingly, their fortunes took a turn for the better with the birth of their third child - Mohammed Marzuq - on October 18 at the Thumbay Hospital in Ajman. The two-month extension (till December 31) of the UAE amnesty proved to be a great boon for the couple. "The UAE amnesty has given my family everything. The extension, especially, has saved us so much trouble," an elated Ferdous said.
"The article in Khaleej Times brought our plight to attention and help poured in from different quarters."
Ferdous and her husband did not even have their passports with them and the Bangladesh Embassy in Abu Dhabi issued new ones for them. Mohammed Imran, the Bangladeshi ambassador to the UAE, said: "The amnesty extension has greatly helped all Bangladeshi amnesty-seekers."
Kids' illegal status yet to be corrected
Jannatul Ferdous and her husband Mohammed Musa still need to correct the illegal status of their two children - Mariam (10) and Masood (7) - as they are yet to pay the bills for their delivery. The children remain undocumented and have not been attending school since 2011.
"We look at this as a beginning. We are very grateful for the benevolence showered on us. We can look for jobs now and support our kids and educate them," said Ferdous.
Prior to the amnesty, the family had suffered a long series of unfortunate incidents that led to Jannatul Ferdous's residency status turn 'illegal'. Ferdous, her children, and her husband have been living undocumented in the UAE since 2009. She lost her older son, Mohammed Suhail, to acute myeloid leukemia. "We battled the disease as much as we could. However, we lost him on July 16, 2011. He died here in Sharjah when he was only five years old," she explained.
"Our family has lived in the UAE for 45 years. We have been here in the UAE for so long that we have no connection with our home in Chittagong anymore," she added.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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