For more than five years, Hassan Sultan silently tolerated his condition and medical problems. After thyroid surgery five years ago, Mr Hassan, 53, had developed many complications.
These included hearing issues, paralysis and a dry eye.
“It is my eye that bothers me a lot. I can barely open it and it hurts when I do,” says Mr Sultan, a father of seven, from Iran.
A few weeks ago when his left eye turned blood red and bulged out of its socket, a friend took him to hospital. Mr Sultan was told that he needed immediate surgery or he could lose his sight.
“I didn’t complain or say anything for five years but now it is becoming too hard for me,” he says.
Mr Sultan has been working at a bakery in Dubai for 23 years. He earns Dh3,000 a month.
“When I first started they paid me Dh1,000.”
He said the former management promised to increase his wages. He works every day.
“I don’t even get Fridays off and I know that after 23 years, I should be getting paid at least Dh5,000 but I was a fool to trust the previous management,” Mr Sultan says. “The new management is much better.”
Mr Sultan also has no health insurance. Surgery for his eye will cost Dh100,000.
“For my first operation, friends helped me pay for it and I asked the bakery for Dh2,000 for my children,” he says.
Mr Sultan has to pay the Dh2,000 back and has gone back to work despite being completely paralysed on his left side for the first year after his thyroid surgery.
“I can’t afford not to work,” he says. “My youngest child is 4 years old. Who will take care of the family if I stop working and my visa gets cancelled? But I need help with the surgery.”
Mr Sultan hopes that one day his children will be able to support themselves but for now, “they are all depending on me”.
Hisham Al Zahrani, manager of zakat and social services at Dar Al Ber Society, said: “With a salary of Dh3,000 and no health insurance, Mr Sultan can not pay for his surgery.
“He also needs surgery for his face, which will cost an additional Dh40,000 to the Dh100,000 that is needed for his eye. Without an operation he will lose sight in his left eye and he has already lost hearing in his left ear.”