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2-min read

Abandoned Filipino Girl Wants to Join School in UAE, But First She Has to Prove Her Identity

A Filipino girl, who was abandoned when she was a year old, is “holed up” in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and cannot join a school or even visit a hospital as she has no proof of identity.

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Updated:May 1, 2019, 11:44 AM IST
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Abandoned Filipino Girl Wants to Join School in UAE, But First She Has to Prove Her Identity
Screenshot from video posted by Gulf News on YouTube.
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A Filipino girl, who was abandoned when she was a year old, is “holed up” in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and cannot join a school or even visit a hospital as she has no proof of identity.

The girl’s caretaker is now desperately searching for her deadbeat mother and says he wants to secure the child’s future “even if she is not my blood.”

Six-year-old Fathima was abandoned by her mother in Dubai when she was a year old.

Fathima “dreams of attending a school where she can play, draw pictures and make friends."

But she is instead holed up in a flat in Ajman awaiting the necessary paperwork to merely exist,” Gulf News reports.

There is no record of Fathima’s birth. And she doesn’t have a surname, passport, ID or visa, or any of the documents needed to attend school or even visit a hospital in an emergency.

The girl was “cared for informally by a couple for five years before they fell upon hard times and handed her over to friends in Ajman in December 2018.”

Syed Ali Moazzam, a 34-year-old Pakistani resident and one of the friends who Fatima was left with, hopes to get the girl’s paperwork in order.

He said he needs information from Fathima’s alleged real mother, who still lives in UAE, but denies giving birth to her.

To complicate matters further, the couple who took care of Fathima is now living apart in Abu Dhabi and Pakistan and contact with them has also become less frequent, according to Gulf News.

Moazzam said the Ajman Police referred him to the Philippines Embassy which, in turn, told him they need proof of the child being Filipino.

“I want to arrange the documents and secure the child’s future even if she is not my blood. I have a heart and feel her pain,” Moazzam told Gulf News.

“If she gets sick, we cannot rush her to hospital because they will demand an ID. She can’t go to school despite being a brilliant kid. Her future will suffer for want of an education. She is six now and should be in school, but without documents how can we do that?

“If no one else wants this child, I am ready to adopt her and send her to school. That is why I am trying to get her documents and that is why I contacted the newspaper.”

Philippines Consul General Paul Raymond Cortes told Gulf News: “We need to prove blood relation in order to ascertain that she is really Filipino, but how can we do that without the mother or the father? Police and public prosecution need to DNA the child.

"It begins with the state [Ajman] where the child resides now. We need DNA from the mother and the child, but it has to be prosecution that collects the samples, and for that the mother must be compelled to come to court.”

Ajman Police told Gulf News that they were cooperating with the Philippines Embassy and would guarantee that the mother wouldn’t be arrested if she came forward to give a DNA sample.

The case, they said, was currently not with the criminal department, but with a social welfare branch of the authority, meaning the mother wouldn’t be arrested.

Meanwhile, Fathima dreams of getting her papers and starting school under Moazzam’s guardianship.

“I want to learn new stuff and have new friends, but since I don’t have the papers, how am I meant to do that? I can’t,” she said.
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