Dubai, Jun 16: In a humanitarian gesture, a UAE-based Pakistani businessman has come forward to offer free interim accommodation options to covid lockdown hit expatriates.
The men benefitted from Ali Rao's housing initiative include Indians, Pakistanis and Africans.
Inspired by the ongoing efforts taken by the UAE leadership to take care of all UAE residents, Ali Rao, CEO of Rao Holdings LLC in Dubai is offering free shared accommodation to unemployed male bachelors and workers, especially expatriates who do not have a place to stay.
Ali Rao currently has a capacity of 100 accommodation options that he wishes to offer to those who cannot afford house rent.
"We have already placed 25 such men in these housing options spread across Al Quoz, Jebel Ali and Muhaisnah areas of Dubai," Ali Rao told local media. He works in collaboration with major charities in Dubai, who refer the cases to Rao.
"One of our companies - the property management division - deals with industrial housing accommodation. We decided to put this space to good use when I came across media articles that highlighted the plight of these homeless men," he said.
Rao has already sheltered 25 homeless workers in the Al Quoz area. "We have received applications for 35 more, however, many of these men are due to return to their home countries, so we are awaiting confirmation from the charities," he explained. He has provided them with free Wi-Fi, bedding, blankets, bedsheets, and pillows.
"In one unit, we provide them with food and the other unit, social workers and the associated charities deliver food," he added. The housing is exclusively for men and not for women and families. "Many are seeking jobs, so they needed Wi-Fi. I went to the camps today and set up a Wi-Fi connection. Someone wanted to eat eggs, so we got him some eggs and rice. These are simple things most of us take for granted, but to many people this is vital," he added.
Since most of the residents are looking to return to their home countries, Rao is also in the process of providing them with air tickets.
"If the need arises, we will add more units," he explained. Rao said, "The ongoing pandemic has hit everyone hard, especially those with no security to fall back on. The economic and income disparities have only increased in this time, with those dependent on daily wages being rendered homeless in massive numbers across the globe."
He added, "I felt heartbroken and if I would stand by and watch, I would feel very small as a human being, I won't be able to stand in front of the creator I thought to myself. These are some very difficult times for all of us."
A beneficiary of the programme said, "I am very happy with this initiative as living outside in the summer is very difficult. It's very hot. I want to thank God and this company for providing me with a roof over my head."