Every year, many Indians leave India and go abroad in search of job opportunities. While there are many cases where Indians become successful abroad, there are a myriad of other instances where Indians are unable to find the job they desired, are harassed, not paid for months, and/or are jailed. A human rights activist based in Kuwait, Shaheen Sayyed, is someone who helps isolated Indians abroad facing abuse. Her journey began after she moved from Mumbai to Kuwait after getting married.
Beginning Her Journey
Upon reflection of how her journey began, Sayyed said, “When I shifted to Kuwait, I saw a lot of Indians come to Kuwait for a job, thinking that their future will be bright. It’s not always the case, many have a bad experience. Sometimes, their conditions are so bad that they just want to go back to India.”
“Once in McDonald’s, I saw a girl with a family. She worked as a maid with the said family who was her sponsor. She was trying to talk to me but was unsuccessful. These sponsors have utmost control, so the maids like her cannot raise a voice. Fortunately enough, I saw her again in a supermarket in a very bad state and I thought of helping her. I guided her to the embassy and helped to get the documents needed to go back to India. This is how at the age of 25 I thought of helping Indians stuck or stranded in Kuwait.”
Her social service grew over time and she currently helps Indians who are stranded in Middle Eastern countries and in nations like Malaysia and Singapore. Sayyed helped around 1,800 unpaid Indian workers stuck in Kuwait in January 2019. These Indians who were working for a company named Kharafi National have not been paid their salaries for several months. The Minister of State for External Affairs and Overseas Indian Affairs, VK Singh, visited these workers in Kuwait. During his visit, all of them held placards that stated that Shaheen Sayyed was the ‘only person who helped’ them.
How She Helps
Sayyed uses a couple of strategies to contact embasisses to urge them to help stranded Indians abroad. She uses Twitter actively and tags the concerned embassies in her posts. She also writes letters to different embassies to raise awareness about these issues. Additionally, she reaches out to NGOs or Gurudwaras to request for food to be provided to those Indians suffering under these conditions abroad.
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Sayyed once helped to rescue 31 Indian seafarers who were stranded on a ship in Sharjah anchorage without any food, medicine, etc. Their passports had been confiscated by the UAE coast guard and their salaries were not paid by the Elite Way Marine Services, which handled the management of the ships. She stepped in to help by actively posting their videos on her Twitter account and urging others to help. She also began an online petition to help them. She contacted a Gurudwara in Dubai to ask for food to be provided to the stranded seafarers. Her efforts ensured the safe reparation to these seafarers to India and made sure that they were awarded their pending salaries. The seafarers greatly appreciated her efforts.
“Lot of times during such struggle people even loose life,” said Sayyed. “In such cases, I ensure that their bodies are handed over to families back in India,” she added.
In addition to her commendable work helping Indians stranded abroad, Sayyed is an animal lover who raises her voice against all forms of injustice. “I think by this service I am paying back to society and doing my part as a sensible citizen of India,” she said.
Original Source: The Logical Indian