Welfare bodies help 200 Indian students of debt-ridden parents.Dubai Welfare organisations and good Samaritans are funding the education of hundreds of Indian students whose parents are caught in a vortex of financial problems in the UAE.
Since October 2011, the Indian Community Welfare Committee (ICWC) under the Indian Consulate Consulate, 1799–1804, in French history, form of government established after the coup of 18 Brumaire (Nov. 9–10, 1799), which ended the Directory. has coughed up Dh738,000 in school fee dues, as a result of which 204 Indian children have been able to continue their education, Committee Convenor K. Kumar said.
"The children are from different age groups, studying right from the nursery level to the secondary level at various schools. We've had a couple of cases where they are pursuing higher studies as well. While a majority of them are based in the UAE, there are some students in India too."
Joseph Bobby, Vice-President of the Dubai-based NGO NGO
Noun 1. NGO - an organization that is not part of the local or state or federal government
nongovernmental organization Valley of Love, said: "Over two dozen cases have been referred to us in recent months. And there could be many more. We have put 15 children back on track so far."
Typically, the parents of these students are in a deep financial mess. "The reasons range from plain mismanagement mis·man·age
tr.v. mis·man·aged, mis·man·ag·ing, mis·man·ag·es
To manage badly or carelessly.
mis·manage·ment n. of money to business collapses, credit card defaults, bounced cheques and unpaid loans from banks and private lenders," said Kumar.
"Most of these families are from the middle-class. Unable to cope, they are overcome by depression and despair," said Bobby. He noted that the reported cases of suicide among Indians -- 33 so far this year -- could only be the tip of the iceberg as most families in debt go through living hell.
An Indian couple with three girls -- aged seven and five years, and eight months -- for example, is literally on the streets in Sharjah after a business partner allegedly cheated on them. The wife went to jail for two months but was released after her husband deposited Dh330,000, her passport and the passport of a guarantor. The first daughter was withdrawn from school because they could no longer afford the fees. The second daughter has not been admitted to school because she has no passport.
At the mercy of strangers
The husband, who has a case of breach of trust and fund misuse against him, also went to jail. He is now out on bail after submitting his passport and that of a friend, but the family has been wiped out of their income and savings. Fear of unpaid rents made them leave their home and are now being put up by strangers.
Similarly, another Indian mother in Dubai stopped sending her 13-year-old daughter and six-year-old son to school last year as she went to jail for six months for a "financial offence". With a criminal and civil case pending against her, she cannot leave the country. "There are some cases where children haven't attended school for four-five years," said Bobby.
Kumar said such families must come forward to take help. "Rather than brood brood
offspring or pertaining to offspring.
a mare dedicated to the production of foals. behind closed doors, they should ensure that the children go back to school. In fact, one of the boys we helped even topped his school in Sharjah in Grade 10 this year."
Dropping out of school can take a huge toll on the children. Devika Singh, psychologist with the Dubai Herbal & Treatment Centre, said: "Involuntary school withdrawal can impact children psychologically by affecting their sense of stability and trust. The accompanying academic setbacks can have lasting consequences which magnify mag·ni·fy
To increase the apparent size of, especially with a lens. any psychological distress psychological distress The end result of factors–eg, psychogenic pain, internal conflicts, and external stress that prevent a person from self-actualization and connecting with 'significant others'. See Humanistic psychology. and socio-economic stress. Children can feel helpless and guilty for needing money."
As things stand, most schools do not expel ex·pel
tr.v. ex·pelled, ex·pel·ling, ex·pels
1. To force or drive out: expel an invader.
2. students for non-payment of fees. But they can do little if the parents opt for a withdrawal.
Moideen Koya, Vice-Principal of New Indian Model School in Dubai, said, "Around 80 per cent of our 7,000 students pay their fees on time. But there's some delay with the remaining 20 per cent. We are seeing more such cases now as parents may have lost their jobs or are in financial difficulties, but as a policy we do not expel students for non-payment of fees. We first give the parents more time. If they still cannot pay after three to four months, we determine the reason. Depending on the genuineness of the case, charities pitch in or the management exempts a percentage of the fees."
A GEMS group spokesperson also said no students have been expelled from any of its schools because of non-payment of fees.
On the Fast-Track
The ICWC processes applications for school fee help within a day or two of receiving them. Applications must be backed by necessary documentation to determine the genuineness of the case, besides original invoices of the dues from the school. For details, contact 04-3973939
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