Sheikh Nahyan uses Yas Island event to praise expat labour

ABU DHABI // “Our country is grateful that you have chosen to help us in building a prosperous future and prosperous nation,” was the message to thousands of labourers at the Workers Village on Yas Island last night. The men were thanked for their hard work as part of the workers’ appreciation event organised by […]

ABU DHABI // “Our country is grateful that you have chosen to help us in building a prosperous future and prosperous nation,” was the message to thousands of labourers at the Workers Village on Yas Island last night.

The men were thanked for their hard work as part of the workers’ appreciation event organised by the Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development under the slogan “Zayed’s UAE brings us together”.

“You are helping the UAE to grow. Without your hard and competent work, the UAE would not be so successful,” said Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak, Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, who was joined at the event by Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi, Minister of State for Tolerance, and Saqr Ghobash, Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation.

“You respect our traditions and rightly preserve your own traditions. You strengthen the spirit of the UAE, and we deeply appreciate and honour your willingness to live and work away from your native home. We admire your love and devotion to your families whom you have left behind. I hope you consider the UAE as your second home as we consider you as an essential member of our country and our society,” said Sheikh Nahyan.

Abdulla Al Nuaimi, head of communication at the ministry, said the event was for all employees, whatever their age or nationality.

“This is to thank them for all the work they do,” Mr Al Nuaimi said. “We are informing the workers about the culture and health and the police. We usually do such events before Ramadan but this is the first time we are doing it on Labour Day.”

International Workers’ Day, also known as Labour Day, is celebrated every year on May 1. In the UAE the event was brought forward a day.

About 10,000 thousand workers in six locations around the emirate took part.

A film about the history of the UAE was also screened while children sang songs in Arabic and Emirati men performed the ayyalah folk dance.

Ajith Sivan, from India, who works in maintenance at the camp, said: “We were excited about this event because this is good for us workers.”

Mr Sivan’s family is in Kerala, in India.

“By working in the UAE and saving money I have been able to build a home in my country,” he said.

Mohammad Mahfoz, a maintenance supervisor at the camp, said work had been going on to prepare for the event for the last month.

“This is important as so many members of the public have come here. We have only small events usually. We need such events at least once or twice a year. We have been living here for eight years and this is the first time the Government organised such an event for us,” Mr Mahfoz said.

Zafar Arfat, an Indian draftsman, said that as the workers do not have family here, celebrations such as these go a long way to making them feel at home.

Mohammad Islam, from Bangladesh, works as a carpenter.

“By living here I have been able to help my family. We get money here and send it to our families,” he said.

He is the sole breadwinner in a family of five that includes his brother and sister.

“Whatever we earn back home gets spent, but here we can save,” he said.

Razeul Karim works at a restaurant and he said living here has helped him to save for his family’s future.

“We sacrifice for them. My elder brother is in Saudi Arabia and I am here. We both send money home for their expenses. I keep some for me and am able to send Bangladesh taka 15,000 to 16,000 per month.”

The workers were also informed about labour law and their rights.

arizvi2@thenational.ae

Source: uae news

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