- Fathima, a six-year-old Filipina girl, was given up by her real mother in Dubai when she was a year old
- She was cared for informally by a Pakistani-Filipino couple for five years
- When the couple fell upon hard times, they handed her over to friends in Ajman in December 2018.
- The present guardian, Pakistani Syed Ali Moazzam, 34, a Pakistani, wants to arrange the documents and help secure the child’s future.
- Embassy wants DNA test from either the mother or father
Ajman: Six-year-old Fathima dreams of attending school where she can play, draw pictures and make friends.
But she is instead holed up in a flat in Ajman awaiting the necessary paperwork to merely exist.
Given up by her real mother in Dubai when she was a year old, the Filipina girl was cared for informally by a couple for five years before they fell upon hard times and handed her over to friends in Ajman in December 2018.
There is no record of Fathima’s birth; she doesn’t have a surname, passport, Emirates ID or visa, nor any of the documents needed to attend school or even visit a hospital in an emergency.
Syed Ali Moazzam, a 34-year-old Pakistani resident and one of the friends who Fatima was left with, hopes to get the girl’s paperwork in order.
He said he needs information from Fatima’s alleged real mother, who still lives in UAE, but denies giving birth to her.
To complicate matters further, the couple who took care of Fathima are now living apart in Abu Dhabi and Pakistan and contact with them has also become less frequent.
If no one else wants this child I am ready to adopt her and will send her to school and do all that, that’s why I am trying to get documents and that’s why I contacted the newspaper.
Embassy seeks DNA match
Moazzam claims Ajman Police have referred him to the Philippines Embassy. The embassy, in turn, says it needs proof the child is Filipino.
“I want to arrange the documents and secure the child’s future even if she is not my blood. I have a heart and feel her pain,” Moazzam told Gulf News.
“If she gets sick, we cannot rush her to hospital because they will demand an ID. She can’t go to school despite being a brilliant kid. Her future will suffer for want of an education. She is six now and should be in school, but without documents how can we do that?
“If no one else wants this child, I am ready to adopt her and send her to school. That is why I am trying to get her documents and that is why I contacted the newspaper.”
To adopt Fathima, Moazzam needs to go through the courts in the Philippines. To even begin this process, the child needs to be recognised as a Philippine national in order to get a passport to travel.
Police and public prosecution need to DNA the child. It begins with the state [Ajman] where the child resides now. We need DNA from the mother and the child but it has to be prosecution that collects the samples.
Philippines Consul General Paul Raymond Cortes told Gulf News: “We need to prove blood relation in order to ascertain that she is really Filipino, but how can we do that without the mother or the father? Police and public prosecution need to DNA the child.
"It begins with the state [Ajman] where the child resides now. We need DNA from the mother and the child, but it has to be prosecution that collects the samples, and for that the mother must be compelled to come to court.”
Ajman Police: Mother won’t be arrested
Ajman Police told Gulf News that they were cooperating with the Philippines Embassy and would guarantee that the mother wouldn’t be arrested if she came forward to give a DNA sample.
The case, they said, was currently not with the criminal department, but with a social welfare branch of the authority, meaning the mother wouldn’t be arrested.
Meanwhile, Fathima dreams of getting her papers and starting school under Moazzam’s guardianship.
“I want to learn new stuff and have new friends, but since I don’t have the papers, how am I meant to do that? I can’t,” she said.
— With inputs from Aghaddir Ali, Staff Reporter
• The person who answered did say, however, that they were still in touch and that the mother was still in the UAE.
• Gulf News also contacted the couple who looked after Fathima for five years, the Pakistani man who replied said that he was back in Pakistan due to ill health, but would return after Ramadan.
• He also said his partner, a Filipina, was currently in Abu Dhabi and would return to the child once she had secured work.
• He said both raised the child as their own and that there was no need for anyone else to adopt her.