Family with 500.000 AED Debt Is Struggling To Get Their Life Back

Nya Crea

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The Sales family has been living in Dubai for 8 years and after just 4 their child Samirah Allegra was born, she was diagnosed with Edwards Syndrom, a genetic disease that required her to be under medical care for long periods, so the family started to struggle with bills.

Shortly after that Anthony Sales and his wife Annaliza lost their jobs and the ability to pay for their loans.

When their daughter was born, they were told their child wouldn’t survive so the family of 2 was devastated, mostly because this was totally unexpected and all the exams showed that the child would have been healthy. However, despite the shorter lifespan the doctors announced, their daughter almost turned four years old until she passed in June 2018.

The entire cost of medical bills weighed really heavily on the Sales’ shoulders because since Annalize had just started her job, she had no health insurance when she gave birth.

Mr Sales, previously had a job as a music teacher but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the school closed down and he, unfortunately, lost his job.

Soon, as they failed to pay the loans, their passport was taken away according to the UAE law, and a court case was opened. People that are not able to pay their fines in Dubai, usually have their passport taken which results in them being stuck in the country and most of the times, being unable to work or renew their visas and as a consequence being unable and settle their debts, as well as incurring in some more visa fines. This is exactly what happened to this family.

The medical bills and the visa fines amount to more than a half a million AED (Arab Emirates dirhams) which corresponds to about 140.000 dollars. A huge amount that weighs on the family’s shoulders.

Their oldest son Raoul which is only 14, also had to face the consequences of the situation, and for a long period of time, he was also unable to attend school, a right that every child should have.

However, the kid showed great maturity and understanding and has been always trying to help his family as much as he could.

Luckily soon enough, the family was able to get help online as a free bed, food vouchers and the opportunity for Raul to go back to school through an online academy in the USA.

My son Raoul is an amazing kid. I had never had problems with him. We have kind of neglected him because of her sister's situation before but he totally understands so now we're trying to focus on him and trying to make up for that.

Unfortunately, still due to their passport being taken away, they cannot access healthcare anymore but they are hoping to find a way to settle their hospital bills and have the country grant them amnesty regarding the visa fines.

All that this family wants is really to get back on their feet and they are doing everything they possibly can for that to happen.

Anthony is now trying to get a lawyer to help them, but without a job, at the moment he finds it really difficult, so he’s hoping that someone will volunteer for the cause.

He also has been trying to find a job but the world pandemic situation is making it hard for him. He told me he had a job last month of December which was just a short contract, however, he’s grateful that he and his family still have shelter and internet to stay connected with the world. Despite the difficult situation many people and their local Church have contributed to helping the family to pay for shelter and their essential needs.

Regardless of the many health and financial issues, Anthony still keeps a positive outlook on the UAE and what it has to offer.

Although our status is not exactly legal, Dubai has been good to us in general. That's why I feel like this is our home. Like people from all sorts of life and ethnicity are always willing to help with whatever they can. Even while we were staying in the government hospital for the longest time we have never felt insecure or being treated bad.

I asked him if he would like to return to the Philippines where he and his wife are from, he said:

Mainly because I'm a musician it's good for us to be here, they don't offer citizenship here so pretty hard to stay for long. It's nice to go and live in countries who offer citizenship and has a better government program like schooling and medical assistance. Being a musician it's pretty hard to have a life back home. So I can say that our short term goal would be to have our status fixed here so we can live normally and get back up from our feet.

People want to have a sense of security. I'm pretty sure we are secured with God. So I'm pretty optimistic about most things.

Unfortunately, this is only one of the many families in Dubai living in this situation.

I wish there were more help available and less strict rules about fines and people that are in need. As someone that has had her passport taken for once for something extremely small, I can only begin to imagine what this family is going through. Not only having to lose their daughter but also the fact that they had to face all of this financial hardship.

As a fellow musician myself, I know what it means to be unable to travel and to face debts in a country where work is often unsure.

However, what strikes me is the Sales’ family positive outlook and their strong faith in God which has never been shaken.

I know that this is their strength and I am sure that no matter what this family will come out of this situation stronger than ever. They have love and unity, which goes beyond anything that money could buy.

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I love to set trends, my field of expertise is music and entertainment but I also love to talk about lifestyle and what's trending at the moment. Expect to find interesting tips, music advice and interviews but also food blogging (yes I'm a foodie), pretty much, anything that interests me or sparks my attention, I promise to bring it to you!

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