I had such high hopes before I came to Qatar. I signed up as a hotel housekeeper and room attendant, but I ended up cleaning houses. I am deployed [to work] daily, so if I do not get deployed, I don’t get paid. The last time I received a full salary of US$408 [per month] was last October 2019. Since then our agency gives us US$54-55 per month and cuts accommodation fees, so we are literally paying for our food and house rent.
As if our suffering is not enough, this Covid-19 made it even worse. We were forced to sign a paper saying that we are availing our annual leave for 30 days. They are telling us this is what the law says and because of coronavirus there is no work available and we must stay at home for 30 days. They still promised to pay us our salaries, but we later found out that the manager is cutting our gratuity pay (end of service bonus) for one year to cover for the month we were unable to work. He applies the law only when it is of an advantage to him. We earned that leave and he is not even paying us a full salary. We don’t know when he will pay us, and he keeps telling us he doesn’t have money.
Even before Covid-19 he has been saying that he doesn’t have money and now he found a good excuse not to pay us. You know what makes this situation worse, my mother who is suffering from late stage breast cancer needs constant medication and not being able to send money for her care breaks my heart and soul. How can I send anything now? I could stand not eating or long working hours but not being in this situation. I am used to hard work from my previous employments. My objective here is to help my mother with her medication but I don’t know how I can do that now that we have no work, and no one knows how long this situation will last. Going home is not even an option since I can’t afford a ticket and I have no savings at all. Some good-hearted people have been giving us provisions to get us through. Today we might have food and a roof over our heads but tomorrow we might not.”