Ghal Singh Rai
Ghal Singh Rai
He hoped to marry when he returned
Ghal Singh Rai worked as a cleaner in one of the camps where those who built Qatar's football stadiums lived. His family had paid $ 1,300 to a recruiting firm to get the job. But after just one week, he took his own life in October 2019. His colleagues in Qatar said he had hung himself from the ceiling fan. - There is a wound in his neck, but we have never received any further explanations. We have to believe what they tell us, says his father Saarki Bahadur Rai. The father often told the son not to worry. - I always told him to come home if he cannot live in Qatar. I told him that over and over again.
Told to the journalistic platform Blankspot
Ghal Singh Rai took his life on the fifteenth day after his arrival as a migrant worker in Qatar. He was 20 years old.
“He left the world and left us with an indescribable and eternal pain,” says his father, Sarki Bahadur.
He describes his son as honest, healthy and polite.
“I advised him against going, but he insisted on going to Qatar to help us out of poverty,” he says. “The final decision was his and he anchored it with everyone.”
Just before his departure Ghal Singh Rai got sick and ended up in the hospital, which delayed his departure. But as soon as he got well, he left and started working at one of the many luxury hotels in Qatar’s capitol Doha.
“When he called home he told us that he never had to go outside. He had worried about that,” the father says. “But everything was new and strange. The language, the food, the culture and that made him feel nervous.”
He told his son that he could come home again if it was too hard or it felt wrong.
“I said I would sent him money for a ticket home, but he said it would all probably turn out good if he just gave it a little time.”
Ghal Singh Rai’s plan was working in Qatar for two years and then return to Mai, in the eastern part of Nepal. He did return. Much sooner. And in a body bag.
“He just disappeared, no one could reach him,” the father says. “A whole week went by before the recruitment firm in Nepal informed us that he had committed suicide. But we don’t believe that.”
When the family reached friends and coworkers in Qatar, they learned that Ghal Singh Rai had hung himself in the ceiling fan with his belt.
“He had a cut in his neck but we never got clarity concerning that,” the father says. “If there was another reason for his death but we are simply forced to believe what we were told.”
After the son’s death the family also learned more about the job. Ghal Singh Rai had been assigned to work in catering and deliver food to the sports complex workers.
“He could have gotten a panic attack over the working conditions at the construction site, and taken his life, that could be the case,” the father says but does not sound convinced.
The recruitment firm that arranged the job in Qatar charged $873, money that was not refundable. In all, the family spent close to $2,500 for airline tickets and other costs related to the travel.
They got $375 from the employer and a body in return. The family also got $5,753 from the Foreign Employment Board and an additional $11,650 from the insurance company.
Ghal Singh was the oldest son and he was unmarried when he left. With the money he earned, he hoped to be able to marry when he returned.
“My other children are young and our financial situation is very hard,” the father says. “We do have farm land but it’s hardly enough to live off. We fear for our future, and are devastated that such a young man can die when all he wanted was making some money.”
Aside from mourning we also have to spend some of the money to pay back the loans.
“The hardest part is that all our future plans are quashed. We had planned to also start something of our own here in Nepal. Now I see no chance of that. We feel like a curse has been put on our family.”