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UAE Helping Hands: Mother fears she and her son will soon be homeless

DUBAI // Lubna is a 38-year-old mother who fears she will soon be forced to live on the streets, along with her three-year-old son.

She lives in a rented flat paid for by a benefactor. “It’s paid for until the middle the month but then I am on the streets,” she says.

Lubna wasn’t always living with the threat of homelessness. She came to Dubai seven years ago from Syria with her husband, Khalid Al Shoufi, 44.

Her husband was hired to work for a Dubai magazine and was earning enough money to support them both. Their life was stable until her husband was forced to resign in 2015.

“Khalid was put under a lot of pressure at work and asked to give in his resignation,” she says.

Once her husband left his job, the bills starts piling in. “We had to pay our rent and we had a loan of Dh50,000, which we had paid half of.”

The couple were unable to pay their dues and evicted.

“On the same day, he booked me a ticket back to Syria in spite of the situation being very dangerous in our town.”

Lubna’s son was almost a year old.

“Khalid moved in with his friends and started looking for a job so that he could bring us back,” she says.

But a month later, Lubna received a call from a hospital. They informed her that her husband had suffered a stroke and was in a coma.

“I came back on the first plane I could get,” she says. “I am still in shock. Khalid was never ill or complained of anything.

“He called me a day before his stroke and was very happy. He said that he had found a job and would send for us soon.”

Mr Al Shoufi has been in a coma for more than a year and doctors told Lubna that the chances that he will come out of it are very low. They have no relative in the UAE or any financial support.

“I went back to Syria for a few months to collect money from friends,” she says.

Now, however, she has run out of the little she had.

“I can’t leave my husband here alone and it’s too dangerous for me to go back to Syria with my son. There is a war going on and it’s not safe for anyone.”

When the situation got to the point where she had no food to eat or a place to stay, Lubna says she thought of taking her husband to Syria.

“No hospital in Syria agreed to take him in,” she says. Her husband is on life support and will not survive without it.

In a few days, Lubna says, she will be homeless.

“I just need a roof over my head for my son and I,” she says.

Lubna has a degree in communications and says she is looking “every day” for a job.

At one point, she says, she worked rolling vine leaves to make enough to buy food.

Hisham Al Zahrani, manager of zakat and social services at Dar Al Ber, says Lubna needs help.

“Even if going back to Syria is an option, her husband is on his deathbed and has no one to support him. They have a three-year-old son who is at risk of starving,” he said.

“Dar Al Ber has supported as much as possible but they need a roof over their head and a steady income.”

• To help, call the hotline on 0502955999, or send a WhatsApp message to the same number. Donations can be made by ­depositing money in Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank account, Iban number AE9805 000 000 000 11530734 or Dubai Islamic Bank account, Iban number AE8002 4000 352 0443 1952 01.

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The National