Despite having eight children and being almost Dh100,000 in debt, Salah Abdul Habib wanted his eldest son to have a proper education. The 47-year-old Yemeni retired from the Abu Dhabu Police last year after two decades of service. He now earns Dh4,000 a month working at a furniture shop in Abu Dhabi. "My son was one of the top students, but my salary would not hold up because of high living expenses and rents," Mr Abdul Habib said. "So we asked for help, and, thank God, the Zakat Fund helped us."
As part of the Iqra (Read) programme, the fund will pay for his son Mohammed's college studies in accounting at Abu Dhabi University - a total of Dh156,000 over four years. "It is fulfilling the dreams and ambitions of a family," he said. "Thank God that in the UAE good people are numerous and they take care of one another." All three of his siblings followed Mohammed into private schools. All are under 18, except for Mohammed, who is 20. Mr Abdul Habib did not have the money to send him to college.
He had little knowledge at first of the Zakat Fund or the Red Crescent, he said, and took out loans to pay for his children's fees. "They were all students, they were doing well and they had needs, and life is expensive. I wanted to provide them with everything they needed, and I did that," he said. "They didn't lack anything." But, he added: "The debts piled up on me." He was left with a debt of Dh97,000. Some of the money is taken out of his salary every month, and he will attempt to refinance in September.
He said that, in the end, it was his friends who persuaded him to seek aid. "A lot of people encouraged me. They said it was haram that the boy wants to be educated and he was a top student since he was a child - from grade one until his last year," he said. @Email:firstname.lastname@example.org