Abudhabi: With hundreds of Kannadiga migrant workers who traveled to the UAE from India to bypass restrictions placed by Saudi Arabia and Kuwait on direct entry from India, stranded in the UAE by virtue of new restrictions placed on travel from the UAE to those countries, team Hemmeya UAE Kannadigaru Dubai, took it upon itself to set up a Twitter Campaign to highlight their plight and seek the support of the State Government.
Background of the humanitarian crisis
Hundreds of Kannadigas travel abroad seeking employment to support the livelihood of their families. On Salary Day it is a common scene for them to be seen waiting in long queues at the currency remittance Exchanges to money to their loved ones who are entirely dependent on this money to survive back home. They sweat and toil even at 50 degrees temperature, bear all the pain of being away from their homeland so that their families don’t go hungry.
Several countries across the Middle East took unprecedented, urgent & drastic measures to control the pandemic as the virus reared its head a second time. Saudi Arabia and Kuwait announced entry restrictions from several countries until further notice including India.
This put the workers in a dilemma, and many decided to enter these countries through the UAE after completing their quarantine of 16 days in that country and undergoing the mandated Covid19 Test.
This was fine until a few days ago when both the countries imposed restrictions on entry by Air or Road from the UAE for an indefinite period due to the rising incidence of COVID19 there. Consequently, they are stranded there and people have begun to panic as they are stuck literally in no man's land!
The sad plight of the stranded Kannadigas
The stranded Kannadiga Migrant workers have already incurred substantial expense - Agent Commission, Air Tickets, Quarantine Accommodation for 16 days, and a confirmed ticket to reach their destination but now with the new announcement its all expenditure in vain. The Indian Consulate in Dubai has informed them to return back to India.
Team Hemmeya UAE Kannadigaru Dubai steps in
That's when the Hemmeya UAE Kannadigaru Dubai whose main aim is to preserve and promote the Kannada language and culture has been assisting ex-pat Kannadigas to find employment, get required medical and attention, and disseminate social information during the COVID19 lockdown and its aftermath.
In the wake of the latest crises facing ex-pat Kannadigas, they conducted a Twitter Campaign on February 11, 2021, to draw the attention of the Government of Karnataka including Chief Minister, Home Minister, Government of India -External Affairs Minister, and the concerned to the plight of the stranded Kannadigas. The Tweet appeal sought emergency assistance for Kannadiga Migrant workers stuck in Dubai to fly back to India with free air tickets.
The Campaign was a huge success with Kannadigas across UAE participating in the campaign and tweeting in one voice for support for the resolution of this humanitarian crisis and an opportunity to preserve their language and identity through the establishment of a Kannada Bhavan.
Team Hemmeya Kannadigaru social media Conveners Senthil, Rafi, Firoz, and Akram took ownership of the successful campaign.
An Appeal for the establishment of a Kannada Bhavana in Dubai
While at the forefront of the preservation and propagation of Kannada Literature and Culture, the costs of staging events, and hiring other facilities for this purpose have become prohibitive and was impacting their activity.
It was in this context that the Hemmeya UAE Kannadigaru Dubai also sought the assistance of the State Government for the building of a ‘Kannada Bhavana’ that would accommodate a library for Kannada Literature and provide a platform for the promotion of Kannada language, culture, and tradition for current & future generations. The Centre was also expected to serve as the hub for Kannadigas in distress.
Both these appeals were made in an exclusive letter emailed to the honorable Chief Minister Mr.Yediyurappa.
The President Mrs. Mamata, and Dubai Kannada Sahitya Wing Convener Vishnumurthy, also expressed their gratitude to all those who participated in the campaign.
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