All photos courtesy of Qatar Red Crescent
Nearly three dozen Qatar-based volunteers have been working this month to implement a new initiative that reaches out to the country’s road, construction and cleaning workers.
The team of volunteers are part of the Qatar Red Crescent, which is aiming to help some 23,000 expats under its “Together for Benevolence” welfare program.
The campaign is being rolled out in three phases this month, with funding from Chevron Phillips Chemical Company Qatar LLC.
Phase 1 began on Dec. 15, with the distribution of meals to 10,000 workers. Water and juice is being distributed to another 10,000 men as part of phase two on New Year’s Day, and hygiene kits to 3,000 people are being handed out in the final phase in mid-January.
In a statement, Ms. Najat Al-Haidous, head of QRC volunteers section, said the goal was to show appreciation for the hard work demonstrated by those working for big projects like Qatar Rail, Msheireb, various sports clubs and others.
“This program seeks to help the poor expatriate workers. We go to them at their workplaces to give them small gifts and say thank you for all that you do for constructing the modern edifices and buildings of the Qatari society. This is the first version of the program, and we hope to repeat and expand it in the near future.”
In the past, other independent campaigns to help migrant workers in Qatar have been greeted with mixed emotions.
For example, each year, residents are encouraged to participate a campaign to donate boxes filled with toiletries and other necessities for blue-collar workers.
But the Box Appeal drew the ire of some Qatar residents who said expats should not have to rely on charity for essential toiletries and clothes, and instead be paid a decent wage so they can afford to purchase these things themselves.
However, other initiatives, such as one Qatari family’s tradition of providing free, homemade laban to the community, and another family’s effort to keep a fridge outside their house stocked with free food and beverages, have drawn applause from residents for their generosity.
“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted”
The kind of act that reflects light of humility among others and inspire us to be more humane….
Unless that act of kindness covers ip a bigger sin.
As much as I applud my fellow humans for such acts of kindness, it is still a shame for Qatar.
“said the goal was to show appreciation for the hard work demonstrated by those working for big projects like Qatar Rail, Msheireb, various sports clubs and others.”
Errr… That is what their salary is for. These are not citizens that have fallen on hard times and need some help, these are people brought to Qatar specifically to work and in return receive a fair wage. These people are not unemployed or homeless, they have employment and what this campaign is saying is they are not paid enough to afford basic necessities!
The companies that employ these people that have to accept handouts should be named and shamed and be denied the chance to bid for contracts in Qatar. This is economic slavery at its best.
Exactly, if the workers were provided decent salaries as in their contracts and that too on time then this workers would not have had to resort to such practices akin to begging. Why don’t the authorities go after this companies which lead their workers to resort to looking for handouts because their companies have in a way made their workers resort to such things to make ends meet.
you make the same comment every time and i make the same reply every time this type of story is mentioned. yes they have a salary, that salary is small but is supposed to be just enough to support the guy working, the guy sends 80% of his salary back home to support his family so he wont be able to afford ome essential stuff because hes not spending his salary on himself. thus despite having a salary he still need support even small support like a few meals makes a big difference.
I like your contributions in Doha News but on this subject I fundamentally disagree. Imagine if a Qatari had to take charity for small things such as this as he as sending all his money to his family there would be outrage. I remember when someone posted an ad for a Qatari maid and the Qatari community when crazy and said If a Qatari woman had to do this we should help her.
Our DNA is the same, the expectations are different.
You disagree that they send a large portion of their salaries home and that contributes to why they need some basic essentials?
I never heard of the add you mentioned, but I would imagine the woman would have gotten some sort of government welfare program to help her and that only applies to citizens as it should.
For the record I do think most workers are grossly underpaid. They should be getting paid over time and get training to increase their skill set and hence have a chance to move up. Rather than do the same job for the same crappy pay for the next 10 years
Took me a while but I found a link to the Qatari Maid story.
Apparently some citizens found it an insult to their culture. They really are superior to the rest of humanity….. 😉
ahh so its an add asking for a qatari maid not an add put by a woman looking for work as a maid.
well then to judge i need to see the actual add it may have been written in a sarcastic or insulting way. plus imagine if someone puts an add saying i specifically want a black maid or something. i can see why some would find it offensive
Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. That is where charity drives like these are fundamentally wrong.
Secondly, I do not think any of these workers are sending 80% of their salary back home. More likely 50% in most scenarios. Do you also think they would come to work here if it was only to support themselves in the first place? Most of their own countries would be able to provide them with jobs that would be enough to support only the working guy. If they were paid what they were initially promised without the bait and switch contracts, and paid on time, I doubt we would see this.
“Most of their own countries would be able to provide them with jobs that would be enough to support only the working guy”
you should read about unemployment in those nations
“If they were paid what they were initially promised without the bait and switch contracts, and paid on time, I doubt we would see this.”
not being paid on time has to do with the contractor, what we need for this problem is a some kind of hotline for workers to report issues of not being paid by their employers.
the bait and switch has to do with the recruitment agencies, that start the abuse in their own nations. to stop them or prevent them you would need help from within there countries and thats not going to happen given all the corruption there.
Which countries are you referring to with regards to unemployment for workers? Bangladesh, Nepal or India? I think these are the 3 primary countries where construction workers are employed from in Qatar. Unemployment for construction or manual labor is not high as far as I am aware. Besides, do you think the companies that hire them are hiring them because they are unemployed or because they are employed in the particular field already?
The government of Qatar has already taken a positive step by making salary transfer through bank for all workers for on-time payment. Only the enforcement will remain once this comes into effect.
Bait and switch is not just restricted with the recruitment agencies. Many of these reports published show that it has to do with the local manpower companies not delivering on their promise.
“do you think the companies that hire them are hiring them because they are unemployed or because they are employed in the particular field already?”
i wish they hired people with experience, they tend to go for the cheapest. so for most of the workers it means its their first time being in a construction site when they get here. hence the poor quality despite all the hours and hard work.
“Bait and switch is not just restricted with the recruitment agencies. Many of these reports published show that it has to do with the local manpower companies not delivering on their promise.”
if its in their contract they signed here local companies must pay them
Who enforces payment?
This is my biggest problem with capitalism today. A lot of large companies (whether it is the construction companies or recruitment agencies) care about profits over the well being of humans unless it benefits them (increased productivity or public image). There are so many examples of this around the world (and so many documentaries about these issues). What usually changes a situation is the press, the government or the public (boycotts or protests or nonprofit groups). Unfortunately here our only hope is if the government intervenes or the press abroad creates enough pressure. The local press cant name and shame and the public can not really influence change that is needed.
Yes, I would like a Qatari to chime in here and explain why this is needed in Qatar…?
If workers were provided with even the basic necessities then surely none of this would be necessary, no?
Perhaps not everything is milk and honey in Qatar?
Or is this just the biased western media again being racist against the Arabs?
because they send 80% of their salary back home to support their families that depend on them. salaries are designed so that if housing is provided (agreed its often crappy housing and we should do more about that) his salary should be enough to support him in his life in qatar. however because he needs to send the majority of it home he ends up without enough to take care of himself
They are in need because they don’t get their salaries on time! A shame for Qatar!
i think you mean shame on the contractor that failed to pay his employees on time.
You would like a Qatari to chime in because you think we have the answers or you think we have different answers then you do? I hate to disappoint you but some of us Qataris do think the treatment of workers here is inhumane on so many different levels.
This a sad situation. These charity intiatives will not, of course, resolve the underlying issues of low salaries and unfair working conditions, but they do attract the public attention to them, which can’t be a bad thing.
I feel a lot of compassion, personally, on a human level towards the lower paid workers and would like to channel it into action of some sort. The employers of these people should be held responsible for their profit driven unfair practices. I am still unclear as to the ways to acheive this in Qatar. I do realise that there are a miriad of obstacles and a change in attitudes takes a long time, but every small step in the right direction is important.
Are there organisations here that try address this issue on more fundamental level?
Western companies who operate here n who misuse labour laws should be named and shamed in western media…this may help.
I totally agree, they would soon change but they are the only ones I have seen taking actions against contractors. So it is not really the western companies operating on this level but the local and asian contracors they use.
I have seen She’ll recently complete and HSE audit on a contractors accommodation and found it sub standard and demanded that the people be moved to the same camp use by shell.