‘Desert Woman’ unclear about return home

DUBAI — Nabeesa Salih, the 'Desert Woman', whose plight was reported in these columns, is still unclear whether she is going home or not.

By Prerna Suri

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Published: Wed 8 Jun 2005, 10:27 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 7:57 PM

"I was told that I would be getting an air ticket and Dh10,000 to help me settle my debts by some people. But so far, no one has contacted me and I am still worried about my children back home," she said.

When questioned about a photograph of hers holding an envelope, presumably containing an air ticket, which appeared in a local daily, Nabeesa replied: "I still don't have the ticket with me. I was asked to pose with that envelope."

Nabeesa, hailing from Kerala, was living in a ramshackle makeshift hut in the middle of the desert in Sharjah for the past two years. Following reports published in the media, and earlier in a Malayalam daily nespaper, Nabeesa was transferred to a Jumeirah shelter with the help of Ahmed Shareef, a Keralite journalist.

She has three children of her own and has adopted two orphans, who are all in Kerala and living in abject poverty.

"I had borrowed Dh12,500 for my eldest daughter's marriage and have a few debts in the UAE as well. I really don't want to go back home without paying all my debts and want to secure my childrens' future before I leave this place," she said.

A few good samaritans have come forward to help her and one of them has promised to pay the ticket fare besides settling some of her loans. "We are waiting for some more details about when she can leave and then we will hand over the ticket and some additional money to her so that she can leave with some security," Firoz Merchant, Chairman of Pure Gold Jewellers, said.

A source at the shelter said Nabeesa would be leaving soon, once she is ready to travel. "I haven't received a call from the people who are trying to help her. Once Nabeesa is taken care of, in terms of money and air ticket, she can leave," the source said.

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