Sunday , January 21 2018

Dreams ruined as women forced to ‘sell’ bodies to stave off dues – Kuwait offers scholarships to Zimbabwean students

KUWAIT CITY, May 20: When she was shown an advertisement for a job vacancy in Kuwait, published in a local daily, ‘Peggy’, a Zimbabwean woman saw a bright future for herself, reports Al-Rai daily. Talking to the Zimbabwean newspaper ‘The Standard’ Peggy narrated part of her tragedy. She said “In that flight to Kuwait, there were 10 of us destined for a similar mission. It was a memorable flight with high hopes that our lives were going to change for the better. Soon after arrival, they were welcomed by a Kuwaiti who worked with someone she called Tito. “We went to a lodge where two women came and told us to hand over our passports and all documents,” she said.

“We were told to hand over our cell phones to ensure that there was maximum concentration. “I was assigned to work as a maid for a Canadian family. I was joined by two girls from Ethiopia and Cameroon,” Peggy added. She was assigned to a big family living in an equally huge house and started work as early as 4:00 am until midnight. “We were not getting the promised salary because, according to them they had paid money to the Zimbabwe-based agents to bring us in Kuwait and they wanted to recover their money,” Peggy said. “Among the duties we were assigned was doing laundry for 26 people and two of them were sick “We would cook and clean a 36-roomed house among other things — all this for no pay.”

In February she refused to work demanding her salary as back home Tito had told her the airfares would be deducted monthly. “I was told that I would be paid $600 monthly with $150 being deducted monthly for 12 months to recover the airfares and other costs incurred. “But that did not happen hence I refused to work. The lady at this house took me to the agent and demanded that I pay $2,000 because she no longer wanted me,” Peggy narrated. Life changed for the worse soon after she was dumped at the agent’s house. “I was told in no uncertain terms that I was going to sleep with any man who they assigned me to so that they could raise the money spent for my travel,” Peggy said. “I was told since I had refused to work as a maid, I should use my body to pay and they would only take me back to Zimbabwe after I had given them $2,000. On a given day, I was forced to sleep with five to 10 men.”

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Scholarships offered: The government of Kuwait is prepared to offer scholarships to up to 100 Zimbabwean students each year to study sciences at both state and private universities, reports Al-Rai daily quoting the Zimbabwean newspaper Chronicle. Presenting a report in the Parliament on the bilateral visit by a parliamentary delegation to Kuwait, Member of Parliament Kindness Paradza told MPs last week that the government of Kuwait was willing to offer scholarships to Zimbabwean students. The delegation, led by the Speaker of the National Assembly, Jacob Mudenda, was invited by the Kuwait Parliament. “The Kuwait Minister of Education highlighted that they were prepared to receive up to 100 Zimbabwean students each year to study sciences, under scholarship, at both state and private universities. The entry level would be a minimum of 12 points at A-Level,” said Paradza. “The Kuwait government is willing to also offer scholarships to university teaching staff wishing to further their academic studies through staff development programs,” he said.

The government this year launched a program to pay school fees for students who take Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects at A-Level in a bid to empower Zimbabweans to become globally competitive. The program is being championed by the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development.

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Women caught begging: Securitymen from the Capital governorate have arrested five women – four Jordanians and one Egyptian – for begging for alms, reports Al-Rai daily. The daily added, the suspects who entered the country on visit visas were caught near mosques. They have been referred to concerned authorities to prepare their deportation from the country and legal action has been initiated against the sponsors.

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