Many Indians travel aboard every year in search of job opportunities. Not all end up in the desired job, even worse, some are harassed, jailed and not paid for months. Shaheen Sayyed is a human rights activist based in Kuwait, who helps such stranded Indians. She Shifted from Mumbai to Kuwait after getting married and her journey of helping stranded Indians started there.
From one to many
In a conversation with The Logical Indian she 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.”
Shaheen’s social service slowly progressed and at present, she helps Indians stranded in Middle-eastern countries and in countries like Malaysia and Singapore. In January 2018, she helped around 1,800 unpaid Indian workers stuck in Kuwait. A company called Kharafi National had not paid the salary of these Indians for several months. When VK Singh Minister of State for External Affairs and Overseas Indian Affairs, visited these workers in Kuwait, they all held placards saying Shaheen Sayyed was the ‘only person who helped’ them.
How Does She Do It
Sayyed gets in touch which embassies and urges them to help the stranded Indians. She is widely active on twitter. She tags the concerned embassies in her twitter post and also writes letters to them so that the problem comes to their notice. She says that a lot of times the Indians, who are stuck don’t even get proper food. At such times she gets in touch with NGOs or Gurudwaras, to provide them with food.
She once helped 31 seafarers who were stuck in a ship in Sharjah anchorage with no food and proper medicines. UAE coast guard had confiscated their passports, and salaries are not paid by the Elite Way Marine Services, which handled the management of the ships. Sayyed actively helped these seafarers, by posting their videos on her twitter handle and urging everyone to help them. She also initiated an online petition to help these seafarers.
She got in touch with a Gurudwara in Dubai and asked them for help in providing these stranded seafarers with food. She ensured safe reparation of this seafarers to India and ensured that they get their pending salaries. Her effort was highly appreciated by the seafarers.
“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.
She is also an animal-loving person who raises voice against all injustice. She says “I think by this service I am paying back to society and doing my part as a sensible citizen of India.”
The Logical Indian appreciates Shaheen Sayyed’s contribution toward society.