Heeding the call of the conscience

DUBAI — Chamilla regrets her decision to abscond from her sponsor. To this day, the guilt hangs heavy on her heart. But she is grateful to the UAE government for giving a chance to people like her to correct their mistakes via amnesty.

By Mary Nammour

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Published: Mon 27 Aug 2007, 8:55 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 2:00 AM

Chamilla had come to Dubai from her home in Sri Lanka looking to secure a decent life for her family. She had joined a local family to work as a maid.

“They sponsored me when I first came to Dubai through a housemaid recruitment agency. The house lady and everybody in the family were very nice. They treated me really well. But I ran away from them within a few months,” she says.

Why? Greed got better of her, she confesses. “It was all about money. I got a better offer with an English family. They were offering me a better salary and less working hours.”

Having achieved her first goal of locating a job in Dubai, she was now willing to sacrifice everything, including her own safety. So she started working illegally in Dubai. That was some two years ago.

But her conscience kept troubling her. Chamilla recounts with remorse: “I did not weigh my action at that point of time. It seemed all right to me. I wanted the best for my family, at any cost. However I would never do it again if I were given a second chance. Thanks to the amnesty, I’ll be able to return home with no punishment or fines.”

In fact she has been missing her family badly. “For the last two years, I have always wished to see my kids. I wanted to give them a good life, at least better than what I had been giving them.”

Chamilla, whose passport was stamped with a one-year ban, is not too perturbed about the ban though, at least for now. “I am going back to my family. I yearn to hold my kids in my arms. I miss them a lot. I cannot believe how I have managed to survive all the time away from them,” she wonders.

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