Fatima with Zayed, 7, and Saif, 6, as they play at their shared villa. Reem Mohammed / The National
Fatima with Zayed, 7, and Saif, 6, as they play at their shared villa. Reem Mohammed / The National

An abandoned mother’s cry for help

DUBAI // Two children in need of urgent medical care are trapped in the middle of a domestic dispute between their divorced parents.

The children, aged 6 and 7, live with their mother in a shared room with 12 other women in a villa in Dubai.

The family will soon be evicted and the mother is wanted by police for non-payment of rent on a previous home in Al Ain.

Marry Jane Santos, from the Philippines, married Ahmed Al Jaberi, an Emirati, in 2002. When they met he was divorced from another woman, also from the Philippines.

She blames Mr Al Jaberi for failing to support her or their two children since their divorce in 2010, and forcing them to live from hand to mouth.

He says he is not responsible for his ex-wife’s debts and that he cannot afford to pay for their accommodation in Dubai, but claims he would look after them if they returned to Al Ain.

Meanwhile the couple’s children are paying the price. The elder boy, Zayed, was born prematurely and has a learning disability. Their younger son, Saif, is diabetic but has never been to a doctor because he has no official documents.

“I lost his passport and mine. I begged their father to issue him a new one but he refused. I can’t do it because I am wanted by the police,” the mother says.

Ms Santos, who changed her name to Fatima after converting to Islam, says she knew her husband had been married before and had a son. “But … he said he loved me. He made lots of promises. He said he would take care of me and my family back home.”

She resigned from her job as a supermarket administrator based on her husband’s promise that would “take care of her”.

Three months into their marriage, she found out her husband was married to another Filipina. By that time, she says, she rarely saw him and he was already neglecting them.

“We fought and he said it was a mistake and he made more promises … that he would be around more and that he loved me.

“I filed for divorce because now we became three wives and he was never around. I couldn’t handle it any more.”

The divorce was finalised in 2010 and she was given custody of the two boys. Her ex-husband was ordered by a judge to pay Dh1,500 for “dwelling fare” and child support.

Fatima moved out of the family villa in Al Ain and rented a Dh30,000 one-bedroomed apartment, but her ex-husband refused to pay rent or child support and because the rent contract was in her name a warrant was issued for her arrest.

“I move from place to place,” she says. “I can’t pay the rent and so they kick us out.

“I want to go back to the Philippines. I have had nothing but a life of pain and struggle since I came.”

Mr Al Jaberi insists his ex-wife is to blame for her own misfortunes. “She moved to that small apartment next to our house in Al Ain and she left without paying rent and because of that she has this case against her,” he said.

“It’s her fault for moving out and taking a place in her name. I am not responsible for her debts.

“I have two families and six other children. I am tired of always paying for her recklessness.”

Mr Al Jaberi promised to renew his children’s passports “tomorrow”, and said if the family returned to Al Ain he would look after them.

However, Jameela Al Hameli, director of the Emirates Human Rights Association, said Mr Al Jaberi’s behaviour was “against every law, whether of the UAE or internationally. It is inhumane. How can a father do this to his children – to any human being?”

She said the Emirates Red Crescent was prepared to offer the family shelter and resolve their legal problems.

“These children are Emirati. They are our children and we will offer them all the support they need.”



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Director: Taika Waititi 

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Rating: 4/5

World Cricket League Division 2

In Windhoek, Namibia - Top two teams qualify for the World Cup Qualifier in Zimbabwe, which starts on March 4.

UAE fixtures

Thursday February 8, v Kenya; Friday February 9, v Canada; Sunday February 11, v Nepal; Monday February 12, v Oman; Wednesday February 14, v Namibia; Thursday February 15, final

Mercer, the investment consulting arm of US services company Marsh & McLennan, expects its wealth division to at least double its assets under management (AUM) in the Middle East as wealth in the region continues to grow despite economic headwinds, a company official said.

Mercer Wealth, which globally has $160 billion in AUM, plans to boost its AUM in the region to $2-$3bn in the next 2-3 years from the present $1bn, said Yasir AbuShaban, a Dubai-based principal with Mercer Wealth.

Within the next two to three years, we are looking at reaching $2 to $3 billion as a conservative estimate and we do see an opportunity to do so,” said Mr AbuShaban.

Mercer does not directly make investments, but allocates clients’ money they have discretion to, to professional asset managers. They also provide advice to clients.

“We have buying power. We can negotiate on their (client’s) behalf with asset managers to provide them lower fees than they otherwise would have to get on their own,” he added.

Mercer Wealth’s clients include sovereign wealth funds, family offices, and insurance companies among others.

From its office in Dubai, Mercer also looks after Africa, India and Turkey, where they also see opportunity for growth.

Wealth creation in Middle East and Africa (MEA) grew 8.5 per cent to $8.1 trillion last year from $7.5tn in 2015, higher than last year’s global average of 6 per cent and the second-highest growth in a region after Asia-Pacific which grew 9.9 per cent, according to consultancy Boston Consulting Group (BCG). In the region, where wealth grew just 1.9 per cent in 2015 compared with 2014, a pickup in oil prices has helped in wealth generation.

BCG is forecasting MEA wealth will rise to $12tn by 2021, growing at an annual average of 8 per cent.

Drivers of wealth generation in the region will be split evenly between new wealth creation and growth of performance of existing assets, according to BCG.

Another general trend in the region is clients’ looking for a comprehensive approach to investing, according to Mr AbuShaban.

“Institutional investors or some of the families are seeing a slowdown in the available capital they have to invest and in that sense they are looking at optimizing the way they manage their portfolios and making sure they are not investing haphazardly and different parts of their investment are working together,” said Mr AbuShaban.

Some clients also have a higher appetite for risk, given the low interest-rate environment that does not provide enough yield for some institutional investors. These clients are keen to invest in illiquid assets, such as private equity and infrastructure.

“What we have seen is a desire for higher returns in what has been a low-return environment specifically in various fixed income or bonds,” he said.

“In this environment, we have seen a de facto increase in the risk that clients are taking in things like illiquid investments, private equity investments, infrastructure and private debt, those kind of investments were higher illiquidity results in incrementally higher returns.”

The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, one of the largest sovereign wealth funds, said in its 2016 report that has gradually increased its exposure in direct private equity and private credit transactions, mainly in Asian markets and especially in China and India. The authority’s private equity department focused on structured equities owing to “their defensive characteristics.”

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UAE currency: the story behind the money in your pockets
How much of your income do you need to save?

The more you save, the sooner you can retire. Tuan Phan, a board member of SimplyFI.com, says if you save just 5 per cent of your salary, you can expect to work for another 66 years before you are able to retire without too large a drop in income.

In other words, you will not save enough to retire comfortably. If you save 15 per cent, you can forward to another 43 working years. Up that to 40 per cent of your income, and your remaining working life drops to just 22 years. (see table)

Obviously, this is only a rough guide. How much you save will depend on variables, not least your salary and how much you already have in your pension pot. But it shows what you need to do to achieve financial independence.


What is 'Soft Power'?

Soft power was first mentioned in 1990 by former US Defence Secretary Joseph Nye. 
He believed that there were alternative ways of cultivating support from other countries, instead of achieving goals using military strength. 
Soft power is, at its root, the ability to convince other states to do what you want without force. 
This is traditionally achieved by proving that you share morals and values.


Ali Khaseif, Fahad Al Dhanhani, Adel Al Hosani, Mohammed Al Shamsi, Bandar Al Ahbabi, Mohammed Barghash, Salem Rashid, Khalifa Al Hammadi, Shaheen Abdulrahman, Hassan Al Mahrami, Walid Abbas, Mahmoud Khamis, Yousef Jaber, Saeed Ahmed, Majed Sorour, Majed Hassan, Ali Salmeen, Abdullah Ramadan, Khalil Al Hammadi, Fabio De Lima, Khalfan Mubarak, Tahnoun Al Zaabi, Ali Saleh, Caio Canedo, Muhammed Jumah, Ali Mabkhout, Sebastian Tagliabue, Zayed Al Ameri

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