'All I want is a place to call my own'

Nadia Ibrahim of Ras al Khaimah hopes a new home will soon be hers.

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RAS AL KHAIMAH // Nadia Ibrahim, 43, sleeps on the floor with her three children, aged 7, 12 and 13. Her husband, Mohammed Abdulla, applied for a housing loan in 2008.

"Look at my small house," said Mrs Ibrahim, poking at a ceiling black from mould. "It's a small house for eight children."

She sold the gold from her dowry to pay for repairs. Her husband, who suffers from asthma, retired from the army seven years ago and receives a monthly pension of Dh4,000.

The house is perpetually damp and smells musty. Paint peels from dirty walls in swaths.

The air conditioners are broken and taped into the walls. In winter, rain floods into the house, which is a metre below street level.

"It's like a sea from flooding," said Mrs Ibrahim. "All the water of RAK comes here."

The two bedrooms, about two by three metres, are for her eldest children. Her husband sleeps in the majlis, about four by three metres.

She is supported by her daughter, Ameera Mohammed, 22, who works for the police. "If she didn't help me, I wouldn't eat," said Mrs Ibrahim.

"She bought all this furniture."

Mrs Mohammed will continue to live at home until she and her husband can afford a place of their own.

"My mother goes to the housing office every day.

"She says, 'why isn't my name on the list?'" said Mrs Mohammed.

Mrs Ibrahim hopes that with the influx of money for the north, a new home will soon be hers. "All I want is a house from the Government for my babies," she said. "I don't want a lot of money in the bank.