Man without identification does not falter in philanthropy
A Saudi-born Pakistani man has said his struggle to get identification papers has not stopped him from running a voluntary project to provide food for needy people.
Abu Abdullah, in his 40s, provides for a family of eight children and lives in a rented ramshackle house in the Manfouha district in downtown Riyadh.
He did not finish intermediate school.
He told Al-Hayat daily: “My education was disrupted because I do not hold identification papers, an identity card or residence permit (iqama) in Saudi Arabia where I was born and where I grew up.
“I don’t know any other country.”
He said his mother was a Saudi national, while his father was an expatriate of Pakistani nationality who was under the sponsorship of the Ministry of Health.
“He worked in the ministry as an assistant pharmacist for more than 50 years.
“I have three brothers and seven sisters. None of us, except two of my sisters, has obtained Saudi nationality. They were lucky to obtain Saudi citizenship.”
Abu Abdullah said his parents died some time ago, leaving their children to get identity papers themselves.
“For many years I have been running here and there between the Civil Status Department and the Human Rights Commission processing my papers. Till now I have not found a solution for my status.”
Abu Abdullah does not possess identification papers except his birth certificate.
It is the same case for his brothers and sisters.
He said: “I want to feel safe and have peace of mind. I want to rectify my status and residency in my country despite my suffering and difficult financial circumstances.”
Discussing his food project, he said well-off families are routinely wasting good amounts of food at a time when there are people who are struggling to feed themselves.
“From the suffering that I am experiencing and in order to stop food from being wasted, the idea to start my voluntary project came up,” he said.
“I seek only Allah’s reward.”
Abu Abdullah said he is aware of the number of needy families and where they are staying in his locality.
“So I deliver the food to them after contacting people who want to donate the surplus food, including homes, restaurants and wedding halls.
“I am one of those who benefit from this surplus food. I take my family’s share from it. I don’t hide my need and that of my family for the food.”
He said his only means for delivering the food is his pickup, which is in a bad condition.
“It needs maintenance and repair continuously because I don’t own another vehicle. The objective is to carry out philanthropic work and help the needy because I feel their suffering and need.
“I feel their suffering closely, so I carry out this deed to help myself and the others in finding food.
“I feel regret and sorrow when I see even a piece of bread being thrown in the garbage dumpsters while there are needy people who are starving.”
Abu Abdullah said the orders for food are pouring since he began the project over seven years ago.
The delivery orders have doubled during the past three years, he said.
“This has caused me to be exhausted, especially during the peak seasons when special occasions and marriages increase.
“But my drive for carrying out philanthropic work and being kind to poor people has not faltered.”
Abu Abdullah carries out his philanthropic work despite the severe heat and exhaustion. “I’m happy with this work because I know I’m doing a good deed and it makes me happy.
“But what is causing me concern is how to get official identification papers proving my affiliation to my beloved country, Saudi Arabia.
“I hope I will find someone who will solve my problem.
“I appeal to the officials to help me and my brothers and sisters rectify our status and grant us iqamas.”