Hope, Favour, Fly to Lagos from Dubai With Smiles of Hope
On Monday, 29-year-old Nigerian mother Hope Edemevugh and her nine-month-old daughter Favour could not stop smiling as they waited outside the Etihad Airways check-in counter in Al Mazaya Centre, Dubai.
Hope and her daughter’s nine-month-long struggle as amnesty-seekers came to a fitting end on Monday as she embarked on a journey to return home to Lagos in Nigeria. Abandoned by her husband at Sheikh Khalifa Hospital in Ajman immediately after the birth of her daughter, Hope was moving from door-to-door begging for alms until two months ago.
The mother and daughter were unable to avail of the ‘Protect Yourself by Modifying Your Status’ initiative launched by the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (FAIC) since she could not pay hefty hospital bills nearing Dh12,600. Her husband is said to have left her after he saw the massive hospital bills.
Today, she has taken a flight back home thanks to the generosity of the UAE Government and a few big-hearted Khaleej Times readers who cleared Hope’s hospital bills and air ticket costs. She flew out from Abu Dhabi airport on an Etihad Airways flight on Monday. “I am going to be home in a couple of hours. My mother is going to pick me up at the airport. I want to say a big thank you to Khaleej Times for making this come true. I am going to start a new life with my baby in my country,” said a beaming Hope.
Khaleej Times first reported Hope’s plight on August 12. While living in a dilapidated villa in Ajman, Hope’s baby Favour did not have enough food to eat and had not been vaccinated since birth. After learning about her plight, a reader directly approached Khaleej Times and sent a payment receipt of the Dh12,500 hospital bill. An email from the anonymous donor said: “I hope that would be enough to clear Hope’s bill and for her to start a new life.”
Once the bills were cleared, Hope was given a birth notification certificate from Sheikh Khalifa Hospital. She had to procure a court document that confirmed her husband’s status. The Consulate-General of Nigeria provided Hope with an emergency travel certificate for her baby and a letter confirming her husband’s absconding status.
Since August 1, Hope and her baby have been leaving her bed space in Ajman at 8am every morning and travelling in the heat using inter-emirate buses. “I take the bus to the hospital, the amnesty tent in Al Aweer and the Nigerian consulate. It was exhausting, but worth it,” she added.
Finally, on August 29, the mother and her baby received copies of their outpasses from the FAIC at the amnesty counter of the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs in Al Aweer, Dubai.
The grateful Nigerian mother added: “I want to thank the person who settled my hospital bills and my ticket was also given to me by someone I do not know. I want to thank my church pastor and my friends for supporting me. God bless you all.”
Hope looks forward to spending time with her family and looking for a job. She aspires to come back to Dubai, find employment and support her baby’s education needs.