Thursday, February 22, 2018

American Stranded in Kuwait. Help?

You know what I'm really sick of?  Hearing how companies don't pay their employees on time (or at all).  WTF.  How many decades need to pass before someone gets a clue?

This is the story of a very nice American woman who is virtually stuck in Kuwait.  She's been a teacher in Kuwait for 20 years and now:   She can't pay her rent.  She can't get a plane ticket out.  She can't pay for food.  Why?  Because some bastard company just decided not to pay her (and other employees working there).

So don't think this kind of treatment only applies to domestic helpers from Asia.  This stuff is going on with all different nationalities in a variety of industries. It's disgusting and disgraceful.

This very-nice-lady's daughter has created a funding site to help her mother get home.  If you can provide her with ANY other kind of assistance inside Kuwait - she needs it all.  Leave a comment on her daughter's GoFundMe site.  I'm not going to publish her name because she is still going through hoops at shaoun (Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs) and it may be detrimental to the case.

Of note (because I saw someone comment on these issues saying that her case sounds "strange"):  "She could try to contact the US Embassy in Kuwait for assistance"; however, it is NOT the mission of the embassy to assist US citizens in trouble (with legal affairs or otherwise).  They may help, but don't count on it.  Even in emergency cases when the US has to evacuate Americans, the evacuee PAYS.  You sign a document prior to being evacuated stating that  you will pay back the US Government within 30 days.  And the longer you wait, the higher the rate.  (American friend paid $10,000 for a plane ride from Kuwait to Dahran, Saudi Arabia back in 1990.)   Labor cases can take YEARS to clear (because of a backlog).  In the meantime, you get no income.  And if a company is going out of business, you may never see any money at all.  She can leave Kuwait anytime. So... how many people out there are willing to pay for her ticket home?  Any takers?

From "Americans in Kuwait" Group on Facebook

"So let me just start this discussion by asking everyone to please not shame me. Believe me I have enough shame about this situation. But the fact is, and I have come to accept that, I need help. I am trying to find the money that I need to survive in Kuwait until the day of my flight home which is May 15. Long story short, my company stopped paying my salary (but they haven’t fired me... so I still have to show up to work every day) four months ago; forcing me to use all the money I had saved in the past to pay my rent and other expenses as I waited and hoped that the money from my job would finally come. It hasn’t. Back in the US, my daughter has started a GoFundMe campaign to try to raise money to help me start over in the US. I’m not sure how well that will work, but I really appreciate her trying. So what I’m asking here, is for help from the community. I have a PayPal account, ( ) and I’m asking for your help in the form of donations in any amount... 1 KD… 5 KD… Or more...any amount; hoping that these donations along with my own personal efforts to bring in extra money will keep me in my apartment for the next 2 1/2 months and maybe even help me start my life over back home. So again please don’t throw rocks at me… I know what you may be thinking because I have already thought it to about myself and my situation many times. Even if you can’t help with donations, would you mind sharing this post with your friends in hopes that maybe they can help? Thank you very much."

From her daughter’s GoFundMe page to bring her mom home

"Please, help me get my mom back home.  As we all know, she has been in Kuwait twenty years now.  She has been working as a teacher, and until recently, she has been doing great.  However, for four months now, the company she works for has stopped paying salaries to the entire staff.  

In Kuwait, you can't just stop going to work...they have control over your residency and if you stop coming to work, they can file a case of "absconding" against you, making you an illegal resident.  This carries a bunch of unpleasant connotations like arrest and deportation (after serving a jail sentence), so she has to continue to work, unpaid.  

Before the salaries stopped being paid, she had planned her vacation to the U.S. as usual (she comes home once every two years), and paid for her non-refundable plane ticket (also non-changeable) so she has the means to return home, but not until May 15, when the vacation was originally planned.  She has rent at her current home to pay until then, and has used her entire savings already to keep her head above water.  

She needs enough to keep her under a roof and keep her from starving for the next few months while she is stuck in Kuwait, and enough money to start over in America in May, sans savings.  She will need to find an apartment and get all of the deposits paid to move into a new place, get a car, etc.  As we all know, starting over isn't cheap or easy, and starting over coming home after 20 years out of the U.S. is darned near impossible without start-up money.  

We all want her home, it is my sincere prayer that we can all find a way to contribute at least something to this goal.  We appreciate ANY help you can give, even if it's only $1, because it all adds up!!"

---  End ---

Unfortunately, it is hard without start-up money.  But once she's in the states, many people I've known in similar circumstances (even with kids) can get government assistance to get on their feet.  

I've also been close to this a few times myself in Kuwait.  It could happen to any of us.

1 comment:

Averroes said...

I think its despicable of employers not paying their employees, But how can someone working for 20 years go bankrupt after 4 months of no salary?