A Sri Lankan maid rescued from 10 year-bondage, opts to go home without eight years` salary to see her family.
`I do not want to wait anymore for my dues from my employer. I am desperate to see my children since I have not seen them for the past 10 years,` Anista Marie told the Daily News yesterday.
`I am happy that I am a free woman now and thankful to Arab News which initiated the move to get myself released from the clutches of my sponsor,` she added. `I do not want anything more now but to fly home to see my children who have been suffering like orphans without their mother,` Marie said.
Her eight year salary dues, holiday pay and airfares amount to Rs 1 million which she is prepared to forego because of her children.
Two weeks ago, Saudi security authorities, in cooperation with Sri Lankan Embassy officials in Riyadh, rescued Marie, who has been working within the four walls of a Saudi home for over a decade.
The maid was not paid her salary for eight years in a house at Khansalallilah district, 12 kms away from the Riyadh city centre.
On August 14, the maid sought the intervention of the authorities to rescue her from her ordeal through Arab News, an English daily in the Kingdom. The police handed over the maid to the mission and she is being kept in embassy custody in its safe house.
Forty-year old Marie, is from a poverty-stricken fishing family, from Chilaw. The maid has four children back home, including two girls and her eldest son who was 10 at the time of her departure from the island is 20 now.
During this period, she lost her fisherman husband but she came to know two years after his death through a third party.
`I met Marie this morning (Monday) and she is determined to go to Sri Lanka as soon as possible to see her children,` W. S. M. S. Wijesundera charge `d affairs of the Sri Lankan Embassy told Daily News, adding that even her children want their mother back home soon.
He said the mission would provide her with an air ticket to reach Colombo. However, he said the mission does not have a budget for other expenses.
The diplomat said a grand Ifthar party is being organised by a group of Muslim philanthropists on September 27 under the mission`s auspices.`
On this occasion, we hope to raise a fund in aid of Marie. I am sure people will contribute towards this cause which would help Marie go home
happily and see her children,` Wijesundera said.
Asked about the fate of her sponsors, Wijesundera said arrangements are being made by the mission to contact the sponsor through the Foreign Ministry to get her dues settled.
He added that the mission had to send officials with Saudi police to take her out from the clutches of the sponsors who were reluctant to send the maid.
As a mark of protest, the female sponsor refused to give her passport to the authorities.
The official said the mission would issue a single-journey emergency certificate for Marie to go through the immigration procedures at Riyadh and Colombo airports.