Lankan maid alleges sponsor poisoned her

Updated 01 June 2014

Lankan maid alleges sponsor poisoned her

A Sri Lankan maid claimed that she was not paid, beaten and poisoned by her sponsor during her stay in Riyadh, according to a report published Friday in Colombo.
W. Amitha Kumari, a mother of two and resident of Iranawila, arrived home on a stretcher and had to undergo several operations on her stomach, according to the report.
Kumari claimed that her sponsor tried to kill her with poison and that she now cannot eat solid food and only have liquids fed through a tube to her stomach.
She claimed that no one came to help her over the last three months in Sri Lanka.
Kumari said she had been sent to the Kingdom by an employment agency. When she arrived in Riyadh, she was allegedly not paid her salary for three months. After arguing with her sponsor, she was given some money to send home to her children, she claimed in the report.
Kumari alleged she was then taken to a place where she had to care for 10 children including washing their clothes and cooking food for them around the clock.
She claimed that she was not paid for three months and that her employer refused to allow her to contact her family.
“I was not allowed to communicate with my family for six months. I didn’t eat food for three weeks because I was angry. They then beat me and threatened to kill me. I fell unconscious and they opened my mouth and forced me to swallow poison claiming it was medicine,” she alleged.
“When they took me to the hospital they told me to tell the doctors that I didn’t take anything. I was afraid for my life so I didn’t tell the medical staff what happened,” she claimed. “I stayed in the hospital for a month and told them that I wanted to go home.”
She said she was eventually put on a plane home with a saline drip still in place. “When I arrived home my husband admitted me to the Ragama hospital. For one-and-a-half months I was not given any solid food with only saline administered,” she said.
“They took many different tests and later I had to undergo surgery. After that they fixed a bag to my stomach and I was only given liquids,” she said.
“The doctors say that I have to undergo more surgery but are delaying it because I am physically so weak,” she said.
“My family is in a severe predicament and even the foreign employment bureau has not come to my assistance,” she claimed. She said she does not have money to educate her children.
Her mother-in-law, Malini Mendis, said that her son was a fisherman but did not make a lot of money. This resulted in her daughter-in-law seeking foreign employment, “but now we are in a worse predicament,” she said.
Mangala Randeniya, spokesman for the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment (SLBFE), told Arab News that the case has to be investigated because Kumari has made serious allegations against her sponsor and the job agent. He said the SLBFE would contact the Riyadh embassy to confirm the case.
The labor welfare officer at the Sri Lankan Embassy said that the case was not reported to the mission. “We do not know anything about this matter,” the diplomat said. However, he said that it was possible for such a case to have bypassed the embassy and taken up in Sri Lanka.

Have faith and drive, women told

Updated 24 June 2018

Have faith and drive, women told

  • Government agencies and private groups organize event to encourage women in Saudi Arabia to drive.
  • The program, held outside Jeddah’s Red Sea Mall, was divided into five sections: Safety, mechanics, knowing how to drive using driving simulators, parking techniques, and carting.  

JEDDAH: June 24 is a red-letter day for Saudi Arabia and its womenfolk. The lifting of a ban on women driving is yet another milestone on the road to female empowerment. 

In a bid to encourage women to hit the roads, the General Entertainment Authority, the General Department of Traffic, Saudi Aramco, Dallah Albaraka, and Al-Hokair Group, organized a program titled “Tawakkali wa Intaliqi (Have faith and drive) from June 21 to 23 in Jeddah, Riyadh, Dammam and Tabuk. 

The aim of the event was to educate participants about traffic rules and safety measures. 

The program, held outside Jeddah’s Red Sea Mall, was divided into five sections: Safety, mechanics, knowing how to drive using driving simulators, parking techniques, and carting.  

Wissam Chehade, the event organizer, said: “This program is really important. Our message is for females as it is their first time to drive and we are here to teach them the ABCs of driving.” 

He said sometimes knowing the basics is more important than driving itself as it makes things easier at a later stage.

“It took a long time to prepare the program, studying how it can have an impact on people. We are covering topics from mechanics to safety, using special simulators, and the basics of knowing how to park a car,” Chehade said.

He said that the program was created to encourage women to learn how to drive. 

“We created it for women who think they might not be able to drive or obtain a license, who are questioning if they are ready to go take the required course — wondering if it is the right time. 

“We are here to show them that it is not that difficult, it is something everybody can do and the basics are not that difficult. We are here to give them a real-life driving experience,” Chehade added.

Rahaf Aseeri, a participant, said: “It was a lovely experience. I learned how to use the brakes and other things. I learned things I never knew before. It was a great event and I benefited a lot from it.” 

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