Dubai: The coronavirus pandemic has prompted several examples of Good Samaritans going out of their way to help those in need.
Photographer Paula Hainey, originally from the United Kingdom, is doing free photoshoots for those leaving the UAE for good.
The resident of Dubai for seven years, who usually charges Dh1,500 per shoot, said: “It seemed the right thing to do, to give up my time to offer them a free memento before they leave the UAE.”
With shoot locations on Black Palace Beach and the Pointe, she said: “I am determined to get to them all, although I currently have 200 messages sitting there and requests still coming in as quickly as I am dealing with them. So please bear with me and I promise I will get back to you,” she told families who have been rendered jobless.
Another British expat Helen Loveday, 47, has been using her spare time to offer pro-bono life coach consultations to those who have been laid off in the UAE. This is her way of giving back to the community that has been a part of her life for the the last 14 years.
“Following redundancies and speaking with friends who had been personally affected, I was really touched by their plight,” she said. “Recently, owing to the pandemic, I have also found myself with some additional free time. So I thought of using my skills to help others in distress.”
Loveday, a life coach for 11 years, is giving free consultations to those affected in the travel and toursim industry. “I have been contacted by airline pilots, cabin crew, administration staff members, alongside some of the spouses of those who were made redundant. Often it is the partners who carry a lot of the load during such challenging times as they believe that they have to be strong for their loved ones.”
Viraj Manickam, 34, an Australian former pilot in Dubai, is another expat who understands the pain of losing a job. So he decided to reach out to others like him to make their move out of the UAE as hassle-free as possible. Through his wife Sharmini’s company that deals with maintenance services, he is offering free carpentry, electrical, handyman, painting and AC services to those who have been made redundant. “As a former pilot, I wanted to help my fellow pilots in distress. As a company, we knew families would be under a lot of duress. So we decided to offer our manpower and transport for free, especially for items that they were trying to sell, which would normally cost them a lot to dissemble, transport and re-assemble at a buyer's house. The response has been overwhelming.”
Mexican expat Paola Reyes, 43, is baking free birthday cakes for children whose parents have lost their jobs amid the COVID-19 outbreak in Dubai. Heyes said she was moved to tears seeing expats lose jobs and leave the UAE. “I knew I had to do something. So I decided to bake cakes for children celebrating their birthday in Dubai, whose parents were affected by the pandemic. Birthdays are special for children and it should not be ruined just because of a pandemic,” said the mother of two.
Meanwhile, ten-year-old Italian expat Tiago saw his dream of visiting Ferrari World on his birthday come true despite his father’s recent job loss.
“My son was crying and it broke my heart,” said mum Karina, who asked on a Facebook group if someone could organise a ride for her son in a luxury car.
The group responded and Tiago ended up riding in a Porsche, Ford Mustang, Tesla, Dodge Challenger and a Lamborghini.
He was also taken to a Lamborghini showroom to see more luxury cars.
“It is the best day of his life so far,” said mum Karina. “This could not have been possible if the ladies in the Facebook group did not respond.
“I am so grateful for the love, generosity and the community we live in.”