Imphal: The pandemic has definitely brought out the best and worst of humanity. It has also renewed our oneness and belongingness despite the rising cases of COVID-19.
As the world battles together against the novel coronavirus, three youths from Manipur based in Dubai have also joined the fight by initiating a noble gesture and raising funds of over Rs 7 lakh.
The amount is now being used to sponsor 23 people from Manipur, who have lost their jobs and are stranded in Dubai due to the pandemic, to send them home by an Fly Dubai flight on Friday.
As many as 40 stranded people from the Northeast, majority of whom are from Manipur and the remaining from Nagaland, Meghalaya and Mizoram will be flying home by the special chartered flight to Guwahati from Dubai International Airport at 9 am on Friday. And among them are an 18-month-old baby and a four-year-old child.
Each ticket per person costs around 1500 Dhs, which is equivalent to Rs 30,700, and since there were some people who couldn’t afford to pay the full amount, the three young men from Manipur decided to pool in the money from their own resources.
At least 5,000 people from Northeast India, including around 600 from Manipur, are residing in various parts of the UAE and providing services to an array of sectors, said Ngayaomi Ruivah, who along with two other youths from Manipur, started the crowdfunding process for the distressed natives.
As informed by Ruivah, those working at retail industry and hospitality sectors are the most affected among the people of Northeast India working in Dubai and other Emirates after the pandemic was declared by WHO.
Around 200 people from Manipur living in Dubai have lost their jobs and many are also living in company accommodations with unpaid leaves for months, slowly drying up their meagre savings.
We will need more sponsors from like-minded individuals as many from the region are still struggling to pay for the tickets to go home, added Ruivah.
Another lot of stranded people from the Northeast are likely to come home from Dubai on July 7/8 as the pandemic has entered seven months and the whole world has gone into a turmoil due to COVID-19.
Unfortunately, their challenges did not end there but continue to face problem as they struggle to find vehicles to transport them back to their home state from Guwahati.
According to Ruivah, they approached the state government for transportation and they have now agreed to bear the expenses with a nominal Rs 1,500 to be borne by each passenger as bus fare.
Ruivah, who is from Imphal East district, is working as a senior creative advertising, Al Kabeer Groups of Company in Dubai, while the other youth — Angam Keishing from Ukhrul district — works at the government relations and protocol, Foreign Commonwealth office, Dubai. David Tusing, who hails from Churachandpur district of Manipur, is a Dubai-based journalist.