COVID-19 pandemic: Indian woman in UAE helps over 2,000 stranded compatriots
Sheela Thomas, 41, has opened 2,200 files of distressed Indians hailing from states of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, who have lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic, to help them for their return to India.
An Indian woman in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) who is a lawyer by profession and social worker at heart is helping over 2,000 stranded and jobless blue-collar compatriots with free legal paperwork to facilitate their return back home amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to a media report on Saturday.
Sheela Thomas, 41, has opened 2,200 files of distressed Indians hailing from states of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, who have lost their jobs due to the health crisis, to help them for their return to India, Gulf News reported.
“Their paper-work needs to be sorted. Many of their visas have expired,passports still stuck with employers who are not releasing them for some reason or the other. I am taking care of all this work,” she was quoted as saying in the report.
Thomas, who has been residing in the UAE for the last 25 years, is doing all this work on a pro bono basis, the daily reported. Though originally from Kerala, she was born and brought up in Hyderabad.
“My mobile has turned viral. I am continuously receiving calls for help from stranded Indians and I don't have the heart to say no,” she said.
Explaining her work, Thomas said she tries to understand the workers' situation, talks to their employers to release their documents and passports so they can travel home, gets the paper-work in place and keeps it ready for their travel when enough flights are available.
"This land has given me so much. It is time to give back to the UAE and its people. These men are the people of UAE and they need help now,” Thomas was cited as saying by Gulf News.
She also feeds 300 people from her kitchen at home. “I have a help at home and we cook together. Besides, we deliver food packets to those in need. What can I say ... I just feel happy doing what I do. I hope more people volunteer and take inspiration from this,” she said.