Sharjah: A Bangladeshi woman said her two children have never been to school as the family has been unable to get them a Bangladeshi passport or UAE visa.
Janat Alferdoos, 36, told Gulf News her 10-year-old daughter Mariam and six-year-old son Masood have not been given a birth certificate by Al Qasimi Hospital in Sharjah as the couple owes the hospital around Dh22,000 in charges for her two deliveries.
Alferdoos said a UAE birth certificate is required by the Bangladeshi mission in the UAE to issue a passport.
“Our situation is much more complicated than that. A series of hardships have befallen us. I and my husband don’t have a passport or visa yet. I lost my first son Mohammad to cancer in 2010, my husband and father both lost their jobs in 2012, and I lost my mother to kidney failure in 2017,” Alferdoos said. “But what hurts me the most is to see my children sit at home and not go to school like other children. I’ve home-schooled them myself but I want a better future for them.”
Alferdoos delivered her fourth child — a baby boy — on October 18 at a private hospital in Ajman. Her brother said the hospital waived off half of the delivery charges, meaning he had to only pay around Dh5,300.
Alferdoos who came to the UAE around 33 years ago at the age of three, went to school in Umm Al Quwain and moved to Sharjah in 2005 when got married to a Bangladeshi mechanical engineer.
The couple had their first child Mohammad, who succumbed to cancer in 2010 when he was five years old.
“In 2008, Mariam was born but my husband couldn’t afford the Dh5,000 or so in delivery charges because we were heavily in debt. In 2012, he lost his job at an auto workshop because the sponsor was asking around Dh15,000 to renew the work visa. When he couldn’t pay, he was let go,” Alferdoos said.
Later in 2012, their third child Masood was born. “Because of a complication, the delivery charges were around Dh17,000. We didn’t have the money, or visa, or birth certificate — what could we do?” Alferdoos said.
Earlier this year, the couple availed of the UAE amnesty for illegal residents, in which their fines for staying in the UAE without a visa were waived off. Alferdoos said the couple is expecting to get their new passport by Thursday.
She added that a grocery operator in Umm Al Quwain had offered her husband a business opportunity if he invests around Dh19,000 in renewing the trade license and clears some of the attached fines.
‘Ready to help’
A senior official at the Bangladeshi Embassy in Abu Dhabi told Gulf News that the mission would do everything possible to help the family. “It is possible to issue passports [to the children], if they can produce documents to prove their Bangladeshi nationality,” said the official, who did not want to be named.
However, it may take time because it is a 10-year-old case. “We have to verify all the documents and look into all the details. But, we are ready to help them,” the official clarified
He urged people facing similar problems not to wait for years to apply for a passport. If they come forward at the earliest, it is easy to help them, he said.
Alferdoos said the couple did not approach the consulate earlier because at the time they were themselves illegal residents without a valid UAE visa. “I was scared that we would be caught and deported,” she added.