Filipinos in the UAE swing into action to help the less fortunate.
PHOTO BY EXPAT MEDIA
DUBAI – The Filipino bayanihan spirit shone bright in the UAE as expatriates dug into their own pockets to give food to jobless or financially struggling compatriots amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Bayanihan is a Filipino culture of “community spirit” where Filipinos extend help without expecting anything in return.
Since Expatmedia.net reported about an Abu Dhabi-based Filipina giving bags of rice and food to Filipinos who lost their jobs, more Filipinos have come out on social media to share what they have to the needy in their area—from Al Ain to Dubai.
Facebook groups were flooded with posts from Good Samaritan Filipinos “giving what little they could afford” to ease the burden of those whose jobs were affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
Donors urged the jobless, those with unpaid salaries or on visit visa to reach out to them for help with relief packs consisting of mostly bags of Jasmine rice and other grocery items.
“Friends in Dubai, if anyone is not working and has run out of food, don’t go to sleep with an empty stomach. Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to send us a private message,” the group behind Kabayan Bayanihan posted on Facebook, “We don’t have much but we will always find something to share somehow.”
A member of the group, who wished to remain anonymous, told Expatmedia.net that they wanted to “encourage sharing and kindness during this difficult time”.
Individuals also reached into their pantry for whatever they could share to help others “get by for a few days”. “I know we are all affected by this crisis but some of us have a little extra in our cupboards to share, specially to those who are really in need now,” said Lea Godinez Manila in her post, asking people to reach out to her for food assistance.
Speaking to Expatmedia.net, Meler Paglinawan, a safety inspector consultant based in Abu Dhabi, said he and his friends from Pinoy Mustang, Kabayan Movers and Al Ahalia Papawis social groups have pooled around Dh1,000 from their own pockets to buy grocery items that they have distributed to Filipinos whose employment was affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We want to share, even in our own small way, to bring hope to everyone that we will overcome this pandemic,” Paglinawan told Expatmedia.net.
It’s not just people getting help. Even abandoned animals received some love, too.
Jonathan Corporal Sibol, a 31-year-old animal sitter in Abu Dhabi, has been doing the rounds feeding around 200 stray cats in his neighbourhood. He is able to buy cat food with the help of friends.
“In this situation with the coronavirus, I believe no one should be left behind. We should love and protect each other, including the animals. During the lockdown, they are also facing trouble,” Sibol told Expatmedia.net.
Sibol, who has lived in the capital in the past 10 years, has made it his mission to look after abandoned pets in the emirate.
He works with groups like Tadweer Pest Control, Bin Kitty, Street Paws and Filipino Street Paws to make sure street cats are neutered, rehomed, or fed.
“Let us support each other to win this crisis. This means leaving nobody behind—including animals,” Sibol said. ICA/Expat Media
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