‘I can’t afford to send both of them to a nursery, I am socially isolated’: calls for more affordable creches in Fujairah

Fujairah Municipality are planning to run a survey across the emirate to see how many would use creche facilities.

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FUJAIRAH // Mothers in Fujairah have called for affordable creches that offer quality care.

This would allow them to spend more time with their children and boost productivity, they say.

“The institution I’m working with doesn’t provide a daycare facility, while other institutions do,” said Emirati Jamila Ahmad, who works for a Government entity in Fujairah.

“We submitted a request a year ago and nothing has happened – they kept promising us that they would establish one. It is a very important issue,” said Ms Ahmad, 28.

“I leave my one-and-a-half year-old daughter with my mother all day long. I don’t have a clear mind at work thinking of her.”

Those concerns were shared by Emirati Bedaia Mohammed, also a Government employee.

“I have three children but the youngest one concerns me a lot. My sister used to take care of my kids while I’m at work but after I gave birth to my youngest boy, she got married and I didn’t have many options.

“So I enrolled him in a nursery, which I had tried to avoid due to their high fees and poor quality,” said Bedaia, 35.

“I’m trying to find a job at the Ministry of Social Affairs here in Fujairah because they provide an on-site daycare facility.”

Authorities in the emirate said they were looking into the issue.

Creches could improve employee morale and lower absenteeism and turnover, according to Mohammed Al Afkham, director general of Fujairah Municipality.

“But here in Fujairah, most of the working mothers prefer leaving their kids with their grandmothers or nannies. If too few employees take up daycare places, it could end up costing a lot of money,” said Mr Al Afkham.

“Therefore, we are planning to run a survey to know the number of employees that would benefit.”

Arwa Mansour, an Emirati working mother, said she has to leave her two children with her mother.

“I work eight hours a day – I leave my kids with my mother in law and it is quite exhausting for her but I don’t have too many options.

“I don’t trust nannies or babysitters and each nursery I asked about has a problem, one was too expensive, the other combined 20 children in a small room and one stayed open only until 12 noon,” said Arwa, 27.

A draft law being considered by the Cabinet would compel all Government entities to provide a creche. Earlier this year, Moza Al Shoomi, head of the children’s department at the Ministry of Social Affairs, said when the law came into force, the focus would then turn to the private sector.

A Cabinet resolution stated that ministries and other Government institutions with more than 50 female employees should set up creches or nurseries at their headquarters.

Ms Al Shoomi said studies into these facilities led to fewer resignations, greater productivity and more stable families.

Syrian Reham Ahmad, 30, said she had to quit her job because the creches were so expensive.

“I have two children, one is three and the other is a newborn – I can’t afford to send both of them to a nursery,” said Reham.

“I am socially isolated. Me and my husband are all alone.”