UAE | General

Out of jail, Sri Lankan lends helping hand to inmates

Stanley has made it his life’s mission to help other inmates by providing them financial and moral support

  • By Sharmila Dhal, Senior Reporter
  • Published: 21:06 January 16, 2013
  • XPRESS

Herbert Stanley
  • Image Credit: Supplied photo
  • Helping from experience: Herbert Stanley, who has been imprisoned thrice, knows how it feels to be in jail and has made it his mission to help inmates with financial and moral support.

Dubai: A Sri Lankan resident of Dubai who has been imprisoned three times is out to bring cheer to other inmates in the country. “I know what it is like to be a prisoner,” said Herbert Stanley, a 49-year-old businessman, who has served nine months in prison over a dispute with a business partner and for standing guarantee for a German friend in 2010, in addition to a month in detention following an accident in 2009.

From buying phone cards and supplying clothing and toiletries to arranging for legal advice and air tickets on release of prisoners, he said he undertakes a range of tasks in the hope that they would make a difference to the lives of these prisoners.

It all started when Stanley was serving a prison term. “I was behind bars in one of the emirates where we were not allowed to call our families. Fortunately, my family was very supportive and my wife and mother from Dubai would visit me regularly. But others were not so lucky. They would give me messages to be passed on to my wife so she could convey them to their families,” he recalled.

In touch with prisoners

Stanley said when he was released, he continued to visit the prisoners and offer any assistance they wanted. “My wife also started counselling their families on the importance of staying in touch with the inmates. Lack of communication can ruin the closest of families when the breadwinner or head of the family is imprisoned. School fees and utility bills go unpaid, kids go astray and families break up.”

A father of three children aged nine, six and three, Stanley said: “I believe no one commits a mistake wilfully. They are in the wrong place at the wrong time. With a little support, they can bounce back. For this, communication is all important.”

He said he has distributed over 200 phone cards to prisoners just so that they can stay connected with their families.

“Also, many of us end up in detention with nothing other than what we have on us. So I try to provide some clothes, a toothpaste and brush and some money for small expenses. Some don’t even have Dh10 to make an appeal,” he said.

Stanley said he also helps connect the inmates to a defence lawyer and arranges for air tickets to return home on their release. “I get support from friends, even strangers on the web, who want to pitch in,” he added.

 

Editor's Note: Those wishing to contact Herbert Stanley can call on: 056-2695499

Comments (11)

Your comments
  1. Added 12:49 January 17, 2013

    I need to contact you. Is there any way I can get in touch with you? Urgently need help Sir

    Asma, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  2. Added 11:47 January 17, 2013

    How can I contact Mr Stanley for assistance?

    Cornell Britto, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  3. Added 10:27 January 17, 2013

    Well-done... We have to support these people, especially Asians who are in trouble. Proud to be a Sri Lankan...

    Srilankan, Dubai, Sri Lanka

  4. Added 10:14 January 17, 2013

    Reading this kind of a story makes me cry. I hope others will do the same and so do I. Good job Mr. Stanley!

    Cristy, Abu Dhai, United Arab Emirates

  5. Added 09:40 January 17, 2013

    In UAE there are many organised groups to help their nationalities like India, Phillipines, yet I did not hear any from Sri Lanka. So it is a great pleasure to know someone who is personally struggling to help the inmates. May be this will be the first step to build a society of helping hands for Sri Lankans: SALUTE to him. I wish if I could contact him as I am also from Sri Lanka. Moreover, a women needs to support the females who are in prisons here. Kindly provide me his or his wife's contact number please.

    Riyaza Razik, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

  6. Added 09:33 January 17, 2013

    Well done Stanley...God bless you and your family!

    fazroon, dubai, United Arab Emirates

  7. Added 08:45 January 17, 2013

    I would like to assist in this kind gesture for a great cause and would appreciate to hear from Mr.Herbert Stanley should any assistance is needed. Thank you

    Desmond, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  8. Added 08:11 January 17, 2013

    May the strength of the Heavenly Lord remain in you in doing his good work and being a example of faith and inspiration to many. God bless you. Tome de Souza - Abu Dhabi

    Tome, abu dhabi, United Arab Emirates

  9. Added 00:21 January 17, 2013

    Brother salute to you. I know how is life when your loved one is in jail. You go through hell all the time. My husband is in jail since 8 mnths. Nobody has come forward to help. My son and I are running from pillar to post. I have not lost hope. I know someday God will hear me.

    soniya, abudhabi, United Arab Emirates

  10. Added 00:11 January 17, 2013

    Can I have his e-mail ID or address? How can I send a little help too?

    marie, dubai, United Arab Emirates

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