Meet the woman who has 'adopted' 53,000 laborers

When Saher Shaikh first moved to Dubai, the rights of the city's labor population was the furthest thing from her mind.That changed soon after her arrival, when she spotted one of the UAE's five million migrant workers in line at the local grocery store."I had my chubby baby in my arms, and this guy in front was trying to pay for a tiny bread roll and a small bottle of yoghurt. He didn't have enough coins to pay for it. I was looking at him, and looking at my groceries and feeling bad about it, and I thought, 'how can I make this better?'" says Shaikh, a British citizen with Pakistani and Afghan roots.


"It's my son's birthday today, and to celebrate, I was wondering if you'd do the honor of letting us treat you?" she asked him in Urdu, instructing him to choose anything he wanted from the store. He left the line and came back with a diminutive bottle of strawberry milk.
"He didn't try to take advantage. He was so humble and sweet," she recalls.
Nine years later, and Shaikh heads up Adopt-a-Camp, a charity she started that offers up support services to a handful of the country's laborers. At any given time, she helps a roster of 53,000 men spread across 52 camps throughout the UAE.
"I have four kids and 53,000 adopted kids. It's not easy," she says.

0 comments: