This UAE expat finds time to help at least one person a day

This UAE expat finds time to help at least one person a day

Abu Dhabi - She helped dozens leave the UAE during the visa amnesty scheme.


Ismail Sebugwaawo

Published: Fri 30 Aug 2019, 10:07 PM

Last updated: Sat 31 Aug 2019, 11:12 AM

The love for God and the desire to see others live happy lives has prompted an Abu Dhabi expat to dedicate her free time for helping people stranded in the UAE.

Ugandan social worker, Winfred Nansamba, has helped hundreds of African women and men across the UAE facing employment issues or health problems go back home and start new lives.

From chasing police papers and getting air tickets for women wanting to go home after misunderstandings with their sponsors, to visiting the sick in hospitals and helping with the repatriation of bodies, the 36-year-old has made giving a hand to those with problems part of her social life

"I always encourage women who have run away from employers or overstayed in the country to go to deportation centres where they will be detained for one to two days as their documents are processed. Authorities will deport them, but it's better than staying illegally in the country to suffer," said Nansamba.

Despite her busy schedule at work, she always finds time to extend help to at least one person every day.

"I hate seeing people suffer and that's why I'm so passionate about helping those facing problems," said Nansamba.

"I try helping people in the community during my free time after I have left the office. I do it on my own and it's not part of my job at the church," said Nansamba, who works as a secretary catechism with the Office of Christian Formation at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Abu Dhabi.

She added that being a strong Catholic, helping those with problems is part of her faith. "All I do, I'm seeking rewards from God," said the Ugandan, who's not yet married and stays in Khalidiyah area of Abu Dhabi.

"I had gone through difficult moments when I was young and I know how it feels not having where to sleep and spending days without food. This compels me to help others with whatever I can afford. I contact embassies, police, employers, agents and families, especially when I come across a runaway maid, the ill or those stranded. I help them overcome their problems and at least get a smile on their faces."

Nansamba, who holds a degree in Business Administration, came to the UAE in 2013 and since then has extended support, especially to women from Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Nigeria and other African countries.
Helped dozens leave the UAE during the amnesty
Coordinating with various African embassies, including Ugandan, Ethiopian, Nigerian, Kenyan and others, and with the help of volunteers, well-wishers, the church and family members of the affected persons, Nansamba helped over 100 women and women with overstay issues to get them out passes and air tickets to get back home.

Citing some of the cases of people she has helped, Nansamba says in 2014, her friends at the church received a call from Nigeria from families of two young Nigerian women who had been brought to UAE by unscrupulous agents after promising them to work in the salon with good pay. "But instead, the poor women were forced into prostitution. When I heard about their case, I went down to the place where they stayed. They were in bad shape, very disappointed and didn't know what to do. I took them to the church and encouraged them to return home. We took them to Eawa shelter in Abu Dhabi, which takes care of human trafficking victims who sheltered them and later helped them go back home."

In a different case, the social worker helped participated in helping a 65-year-old Ugandan national who was battling with diabetes and was stranded in the UAE with overstay fines for years. "I helped process his documents in cooperation with Al Aweer immigration office, bought him air tickets with money from well-wishers and I accompanied him back home," said Nansamba.

She says with financial support from volunteers, the church and families of the affected persons, her major input is comforting women and encouraging them to go back home. She helps them with step-by-step procedures requiring police, immigration and the embassies until they board a flight back home.

The social worker also keeps in touch with the women while back home to see that they are getting on well with their new lives.

More news from UAE