News

Honesty beats desperation as refugee hands over lost money

HONESTY: Desperate to feed his refugee family, Dollah still handed in the money he found near work.
HONESTY: Desperate to feed his refugee family, Dollah still handed in the money he found near work. Patrick Woods

A GYMPIE man named Dollah may be Australia's loneliest and most financially desperate man. He might also be its most honest.

Desperate by any definition, working only to pay his rent and get food to his refugee family trapped in a remote corner of Bangladesh, Dollah recently stumbled on what would have been temptation for anyone else.

He found a pay envelope containing hundreds of dollars.

He handed it in to police and has yet to be convinced that he can hang on to it if it is not claimed in six weeks.

"He doesn't want anything he hasn't worked for," his friend and host Deborah Rays told The Gympie Times.

His escape from life-threatening viciousness in Myanmar is a long story that includes hiding in the jungle, running from soldiers, a blacked-out two hours on a smuggler's boat and a fearful run through an alien city to pay big money for a Skype connection so he could apply for a visa.

Dollah a Gympie meatworker, is the only man from his village to reach Australia.

Others, aged 12 and upwards, were mutilated and killed in front of their mothers and wives, part of the genocide now being experienced by his Rohingya people, a Muslim group regarded by many as the most oppressed people in the world.

Dollah now has permanent residency and an Australian ID card.

It is the first official recognition he has ever had that he exists and is a person.

Until he came into The Gympie Times' office this week, he had never seen a newspaper - not that he can read or write.

And his friends in Australia - Deborah Rays of Caboolture and Jamie Barnes of Gympie - are among the few strangers he has ever met who were not trying to kill him.

Without asking a free ride from anyone, he is working at Nolan Meats to earn money he uses to attempt to get food to his family - a wife, daughter, mother and two younger brothers - living in fear under a tarp.

His other brother is in jail.

His brother and his father were repeatedly beaten and tortured by the Myanmar Army.

His father died as a result, making Dollah responsible for the family.

His father's last wish was for Dollah to escape and somehow earn money to feed his family hiding across the border in Bangladesh.

He works at Nolan Meats and supporters are raising money to buy Dollah an electric-assisted bicycle so he can ride to work from his rented Monkland home and no longer have to spend much of his wages on cab fares.

But he is a man still in fear, constantly apprehensive. It is an attitude that makes sense after his experiences of life.

Recently he found what looked like a pay packet, an envelope containing some hundreds of dollars.

After handing the money in to police he noticed a very sad looking teenage male walking along the road where he found the money.

If it is your money, Dollah wants you to collect it from Gympie police station.

Told that it is his if it remains unclaimed, he says no.

"He doesn't want anything he hasn't worked for," Ms Rays said.

Dollah's story is proof that ordinary Australians know the difference, even if our leaders on all sides do not.
Australians have already donated, through the technological medium of internet "crowd funding", $1500 or more towards the $2500 cost of an electric bicycle to help him get to work.

For less than the cost of a bar of chocolate, Gympie people can make a difference, via the sites www.indiegogo.com or www.facebook.com/ride4refugee (which has a link to the indiegogo fund raising site).

It is also our chance to show a hard-working, honest man that, while we don't like being conned, as we sometimes may feel we are, we appreciate a genuine cause.

And it is our chance to let Australia's loneliest person know that he is among friends.

Gympie Times

Topics:  bangladesh, editors picks, honesty, myanmar, refugee




URGENT: Why you must update your iPhone iOS settings now

Apple is urging iPhone and iPad users to do an urgent update of their software for security reasons.

Hackers have found a way to break into every iPhone in the world.

John Williamson winding up for another Gympie Muster

John Williamson is bringing some new songs and artists to this year's Muster.

John Williamson is back and ready to put on his best show ever

Three months jail for 'stupid' offences

Motorists drive slowly past sections of road in Tanawah that had started melting in the hot weather.
Photo: Iain Curry / Sunshine Coast Daily

'You just seem to be hell bent on getting yourself into trouble'

Latest deals and offers

Twice as much Troy will please country music lovers

CATCH HIM WHILE YOU CAN: Singer Troy Cassar-Daley plans to take some time off to spend with family next year.

TROY Cassar-Daley is releasing a new album and book.

Courtney Stodden gets Reborn Doll

Courtney Stodden is trying to get over her recent miscarriage

Kate McKinnon 'destitute' before SNL

Kate McKinnon says she can't do anything but act

The Amity Affliction to perform Gympie concert

The Amity Affliction's Joel Birch during the Vans Warped Tour 2013 in Brisbane.

The Amity Affliction will play the Gympie Civic Centre. Get tickets

FBI investigating Leslie Jones website hack

The FBI are investigating Leslie Jones' personal website hack

Katy Perry: 'I stay normal with therapy'

Katy Perry says she relies on therapy to help her 'stay normal'

REVEALED: Pat Rafter's $18m Coast house on the market

Check out the photos of the Coast's most expensive property for sale

The "correction we had to have" in Gladstone's rentals

UPWARD MARCH: The rental vacancy rate in Gladstone has improved for the first time in more than a year, providing a confidence boost in the market.

Vacancy rates improve with signs that things are getting betterF

ISLAND FOR SALE: Cheap Fraser Coast island drops price again

Suna Island in the Great Sandy Strait will be auctioned by Ray White Hervey Bay on Saturday morning.

This is the cheapest island you will find for sale in Australia

How a family home can fit on a 250sq m block

This is what you can build on 250m2.

Here's the floor plan of a home built on 250sq m

$100m plan for Curtis Island 'world class' luxury resort

$100 million resort: Top views at Turtle Street at Curtis Island.

"At the moment we think it meets all the town planning approvals.”

Noosa mayor on "red alert" over planning court decision

Mayor Tony Wellington hands down his first budget.

Mayor upset at lack of say about look and feel of Noosa