Ramadan in UAE: Homeless woman finds hope during holy month after living in car for 4 years

Benevolent individuals, including the Indian Consulate, come forward to clear her debts


Nandini Sircar

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Published: Thu 20 Apr 2023, 6:19 PM

Last updated: Fri 21 Apr 2023, 12:09 AM

A long-time Dubai resident, who has been homeless living in a car for four years now couldn’t be more grateful to her benefactor and the Indian Consulate who helped her in myriad ways.

Driving from pillar to post Indian expat Priya Mani’s rapidly depleting savings could barely pay for the fuel, to keep the car moving. She only prayed for normalcy once again in her life.

Speaking to Khaleej Times, 55-year-old, Priya says, “Jasbir Bassi, a businesswoman in Dubai, has been an absolute angel. It’s truly a miracle. I am a complete stranger to her. Despite that, she offered to clear all my financial dues. She didn’t judge me and agreed to pay all my dues. She paid my Dh32,000 Dewa bills, Dh50,000 to my landlord and she even offered me a job. A big shoutout to a group of people who made a video narrating my story which garnered a lot of audience interest, and I could see people stepping forward to help.”

Priya adds, “The Indian Consulate Dubai has also played a crucial role in alleviating my situation. People from the Consulate, especially Vinay Chaudhary helped me in many different ways. They tried addressing the issue in several ways and have been by my side all along, ever since I approached them.”

Daughter of a prolific businessman at one point in time, Priya’s formative years were spent in Dubai and England. She has three degrees and has even worked in the UK for eight years before deciding to return to the UAE in 2003.

But the downturn of events in her life since then left her in dire straits.

She says, “My father was diagnosed with lung cancer and my parents decided to return to India.”

Priya then started her own realty enterprise under a license from RAKEZ (Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone) and became a victim of the economic slump in 2009.

Following her mother’s footsteps and persevering to find an alternative source of income in a tailoring business with little capital in hand, days ahead continued getting tough, as her mum who was in India at that time, seriously fell ill.

Priya explains, “my mother developed Parkinson’s Disease. I had to get my mom back to the UAE as my brother who lives in Mumbai himself suffers from mental issues and was unable to care for her. But once my mother came here, soon after, she had an ischemic brain stroke that left her paralysed on one side of the body. In 2012, she underwent three major leg surgeries as well. With mounting hospital bills and an unsteady business, even my rent cheques bounced, putting me in a tighter spot. I even sold off whatever jewellery I had. But my mother eventually passed away.”

“Then Covid struck and the situation everywhere further detiorarated. The only silver lining is that I had two dogs whom I had to leave at the shelter home but luckily, they have survived, one is blind though. But now I finally see things getting better for me after so many years,” she adds.

Consulate hails the Indian community in UAE

Determined to seek help, Priya contacted the Indian Consulate, which promptly took action on her case by coordinating with her former villa's landlord to negotiate a settlement for the outstanding rent.

The consulate highlights during Ramadan, several benevolent individuals came forward to settle her remaining debts.

Meanwhile, The Consulate extended its heartfelt appreciation, “To Vinay Chaudhary, Aneesh Vijayan, and Jasbir Bassi for their compassionate support in resolving Ms Mani’s situation. The unity and generosity demonstrated during her time of need exemplify the strong bonds within the Indian community in the UAE.”

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