Iftar fundraiser to be held for her family who has now lost their sole breadwinner
By Janice Ponce de Leon, Staff Reporter
Dubai: A housemaid who sustained serious burns in a gas cylinder explosion at her employer’s residence died of her injuries in hospital, Gulf News has learnt.
A two-day charity iftar was held on Saturday and Sunday at Media One Hotel for the family of the Ethiopian maid. The 24-year-old Azeb Abebe passed away on August 2 after battling for her life for 18 days. She had sustained third-degree burns to 81 per cent of her body after a gas leak triggered the explosion in July.
”We’re doing this because it’s the right thing to do. My target was to sell 300 tickets and raise Dh15,000 to give to Azeb’s family”
Deidre Francella, colleague of Azeb’s employer, Masoud Salem
Abebe, who defied all medical opinion for more than two weeks at the intensive care unit of Rashid Hospital, died of cardiac arrest.
She had been preparing breakfast for her employers early morning on July 15 when the blast tore through her employer’s kitchen, leaving her with severe burns.
South African Deidre Francella, a colleague of Azeb’s employer, Masoud Salem, organised the charity iftar to help Azeb’s family back in Ethiopia. Azeb, the sole breadwinner of her family, leaves behind her husband and a four-year-old son.
“We’re doing this because it’s the right thing to do. My target was to sell 300 tickets and raise Dh15,000 to give to Azeb’s family,” Francella, a sales representative, told Gulf News.
Besides the charity iftar, Salem put up a Facebook page in July to encourage others to help pay for Azeb’s spiralling medical bills. On Thursday, when Salem was about to settle the bills, he was shocked to hear what the hospital management had to say. “We basically had gone on to the cashier to pay off the bills and at the counter we were told that it’s settled. The government is taking care of it,” Salem said.
“We would like to extend our sincere gratitude to President His Highness Shaikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan and His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, for waiving all medical expenses that Azeb incurred at Rashid Hospital. We would also like to thank the hospital management and the doctors and medical staff for taking good care of Azeb,” Salem added.
Salem said the government’s humane gesture has given him the opportunity to divert all donations to secure the future of Azeb’s family.
“It was a relief of course because we were really scrambling for funds. Now, the good thing is that we can ensure that all the donations, 100 per cent, everything will get diverted towards her family,” Salem said, adding, “She is terribly missed. It was like a death in the family. But God has other plans for her.”
Azeb’s body will be repatriated to Ethiopia as soon as all legal formalities and police investigations have been completed.