Know people who strive to build the UAE

Know people who strive to build the UAE

Dubai - Among the lowest paid, yet probably the most cheerful, these workers are the backbone of the country.

By Saman Haziq

Published: Tue 30 Apr 2019, 7:50 PM

Look around you. It won't take you over a minute or two to spot men and women, working hard in the heat and dust, some getting their hands and clothes soiled, just so that you and I can have a comfortable life. These unsung heroes are none other than the most hard-working section of the country - the blue-collar workers.
From doing one of the world's most dangerous jobs - skyscraper window washing to building bridges, cleaning houses, offices and buildings, taking care of our families, work and children - the blue-collar workers literally give their sweat and blood to the country in ways we, many a time, fail to even acknowledge.
Among the lowest paid, yet probably the most cheerful lot of society, these workers are definitely the backbone of the country. And it is yet again that time of the year, where we appreciate, acknowledge and pay tribute to the working class - the men and women whose physical labour has helped power the dramatic rise of cities not just in the Middle East but across the world.

Tomorrow is International Workers' Day, also known as Workers' Day, Labour Day, May Day, that celebrates the working classes and labourers.
Khaleej Times' has a sneak peak at some of the people who toil and literally to build the country with their bare hands, brick by brick; who we see every day. They too need a pat on their backs.
Mohammed Ajmullah Ansari, Indian, safety officer
Mohammed Ajmullah Ansari, who came to the UAE in 2015, said he still remembers the day he landed here. "It was June 24, 2015, and the first thing that struck me was how people of different nationalities stayed together, bonding with each other. My only regret was that my grip on the English language was weak and it was hard for me to speak to people of other nationalities."
Ansari, who has four children and a wife back home in Uttar Pradesh, India said that coming to the UAE has been a blessing as got time to invest in himself. "All my life I have worked hard so that I could give the best of everything to my family. But, UAE offered me a unique opportunity to invest time in myself. Being here made me realise the importance of clear and effective communication, which is why I invested time to fulfil my dream of being an eloquent speaker of the English language. I joined English speaking classes here given by an NGO free-of-cost. Today, I have emerged as a confident person and can speak to anyone in English, which has also helped give a boost to my career."
Giving out his message to his fellow workers, Ansari said: "The UAE is a land of opportunities so make the most of your time here. You have to focus on what you want to achieve and work hard to achieve your dreams. This country won't disappoint you."
Shobhana, from Kerala, India, Bus Conductor
Shobhana came to the UAE in 2014 as a cleaner and was unsure how she would cope up in a new country without her family. "I call this country a 'blessed land' as it has helped me take care of my family back home and also given me a chance to not only work on myself but also improve my work life."
Shobhana worked hard as a cleaner and was promoted to the post of the bus conductor, which she said gives her a sense of achievement and recognition. "I have a 27-year-old son, and a daughter who is now in her final year and my job here is helping me take care of my kids back home. I would not have been able to fund their education if I didn't come to Dubai. Also, I have made a lot of friends here from different nationalities. I feel cheerful as I am constantly surrounded by students at school, who give me lots of love and respect."
Shobhana said she feels happy serving the people of the UAE as the country and its leaders give equal opportunities to expatriates and help them improve their careers and ultimately their life. "I am happy and content with my life here and my blessings are always for this beautiful country and its leaders, long live the UAE!"
Sandip Basnet, 2017, labourer from Nepal
Harsh economic conditions, unemployment and disappointment with life led 24-year-old Sandip to Dubai. "I was upset with everything back home as wherever I looked there were poverty and unemployment. I wanted to do something for people, which is why I came here to the UAE. This is the first time I got a chance to step out of my country. Although I am having a tough time as a labourer, I know my hard work will pay off."
Sandip said he has heard of so many success stories of rags-to-riches after coming to the UAE that he is now hopeful that his life will also get a positive spin. "Although I came here with a dream to get a better job, I couldn't find the right match. I took up the job of a loader because something is better than nothing. At least, this country has given me some kind of employment and exposure."
One thing that the UAE has imbued him with is 'hope and positivity'. All he wants to do now is to earn well and send 50 per cent of what he earns to his country. He hopes to invest in education and help his people steeped in poverty.
"My inspiration to do good has come from the UAE, where leaders take good care of people. I am happy to see residents stop and smile at us workers and some even thank us for working so hard. The government gives us opportunities to develop ourselves in different ways so we do not feel lonely and lost."
Pakistani national Dilshad Khan, bus driver, came to UAE in 2006
Although he had to struggle for a couple of years to get the right job, Khan said it was all worth it. "It is the struggles in life that make you strong and help you achieve your dreams," he said
Khan believes that every expat who has got an opportunity to come to the UAE is special. "I believe only special get a chance to come to this special country and experience life here. This is what coming to the UAE has made me realise. Where else would I get a chance to meet and stay with people of different nationalities, understand their culture and learn new languages."
Khan said he was an introvert when he first came to the UAE and could not speak any language properly except for his colloquial tongue. "I am changed man now after coming here. Thanks to the people I met and the various free programmes for workers, I have gained confidence and learned different languages such as Urdu, English and Arabic. I feel like an accomplished man now as I have a respectable job. I get to wear good clothes and I feel happy about myself."
Khan has a wife, parents and brother back home in a remote village of Pakistan.
Swaliha Macha, Ethiopian, housemaid
Coming from a remote village in Ethiopia, Swaliha did not know any other language other than her native tongue. "It was a tough move for me as I had to leave a one-year-old child and my husband. I had no idea of the languages spoken here, which made it difficult for me to communicate. However, I was lucky to get an employer who understood my problems and was patient with me while explaining things in sign language."
Swaliha, who works as a housemaid, said she had never studied at school and did not know a word of English language, however, she always wanted to learn the universal language. "My employers started conversing with me in English and used sign language at the same time to explain. This helped me understand some English words and now I have picked up the language and can talk as well as understand it. This is such a big achievement for me as no one in my family knows English."
Swaliha sends her full salary back home to support her family as well as her old parents. She said she is grateful for having come to the UAE as she is able to secure a good future for her young one. "It is hard for a mother to stay away from her child but what keeps me going is the fact that I am able to save money for my son's future and that my family is able to support itself. UAE has added value to my life and has helped me be to support myself and my family. I never used a smartphone before but my employers have bought me one and help me speak to my family regularly. They are from another nationality, and yet, they take care of my needs, my culture, my food and my family," she said.

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