Covid-19 volunteers: All-women group goes the extra mile to help struggling families in Dubai
Dubai - Even childbirth did not stop one woman from volunteering
Indian expat Naziya Shabeer had just given birth but that didn't stop her from jumping back into volunteer work in Dubai. Her all-women community group has been helping homemakers and families who are struggling amid the Covid19 pandemic.
"I just delivered my baby boy on March 30. Since we are doing everything over the phone, I continued to do the coordination work," said Shabeer, organising secretary of the Kerala Muslim Cultural Centre (KMCC) Women's Wing.
Run by 44 women, this KMCC wing has been providing food kits and psychological support to homemakers whose husbands are in quarantine facilities after testing positive for Covid-19.
So far, the group has reached a total of 50 families and individuals.
Safiya Moideen, president of the KMCC Women's Wing, said: "Housewives - especially those with small children - whose husbands have tested positive, are very scared to ask for help.
"They are in quarantine, and their husbands are in a separate facility. They are too scared to go out and buy supplies."
The group is also giving necessities and mental health support to families whose breadwinners suffered job losses.
"We are supporting single women and families on visit visas, too. For single women and families in Deira's Naif Street, we are giving hot food packets," Shabeer told Khaleej Times.
Aid delivery, free counselling
The women work in association with the KMCC Volunteer Group, providing them with the address and details of those who need food and other essential supplies. The group then delivers the relief to those in need.
"We all do the organising work remotely and provide free counselling to these women and their children over the phone," Moideen said.
Sabira C, one of the beneficiaries of the programme, said she didn't know what to do after her husband tested positive a week ago, especially because they have a four-month-old baby.
"I came here on a visit visa with my baby three months ago. However, people at the KMCC and local authorities kept checking on us and provided with emotional support and food supplies," said Sabira, who stays in Naif.
"My husband quickly recovered and is back home now," she added.
Another beneficiary, Dhanya R, said: "I have been in Dubai since December searching for work. When my visa expired in March, I wanted to go back but all the flights stopped."
Dhanya lives in an apartment with other working women. She contacted KMCC after she ran out of essential supplies.
Moideen said most women and families who have reached out to them have learnt about their work through word of mouth.
Patients are recovering quickly
Both Moideen and Shabeer have been involved in the majority of the coordination work, and general secretary Reena Saleem, treasurer Najma Sajid, and coordinator Sareena Ismail have been volunteering.
Patrons of the KMCC Women's Wing - Shamsunnisa Shamsudheen and Naseema Aslam - oversee the project.
Thanks to the quick recovery of Covid-19 patients in the UAE, the KMCC has had to provide support only until the primary caregivers are out of quarantine, the group said.
"Many of the recovered patients have praised the quality of healthcare they received here in the UAE. They are also recovering quickly - so, we take care of the needs of the patient's family only until they are discharged from the hospitals," Shabeer said.