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




John and Margaret are loving the dance of life

LET'S KEEP DANCING: Margaret and John Dore relive the beginnings of their professional ballroom dancing careers, in front of a photograph taken of them in 1978, just before they went professional.

John and Margaret Dore are teaching ballroom dancing at Imbil.

Jazz, lyrical, and more on tap at Eisteddfod

STEPPING UP: (From left) Nailani Jones,Olivia Blackman, Camryn Warry, Lily Skinner and Huntah Symes kick off the Eisteddfod.

The 2016 Gympie and District Eisteddfod has kicked off

Perrett says ag minister is 'out of her depth'

Gympie MP Tony Perrett.

Perrett takes aim at Agriculture Minister Leanna Donaldson

Latest deals and offers

Matt Damon is taking a break from acting

Matt Damon is taking a break to spend time with his family

Police foiled terrifying 1m plot to kidnap Katie Price

Police foiled a £1 million plot to kidnap Katie Price and her family

Kristen Bell's baby confession

Kristen Bell once pretended to be asleep when her baby woke up early

Babylon 5's Jerry Doyle has died

Jerry Doyle has died from unknown causes at the age of 60

Mum driver heroically ignores hilarious lip-syncing son

Hilarious moves while Mum concentrates on the road.

IF IT takes a village to raise a child, why aren't they driving?

Twitter adds dancing David Brent emoji

Ricky Gervais's character has its own emoji now

Is Gympie having a building boom?

There is plenty of building activity happening around the Gympie region.

New home approvals for Gympie region double

You can own this Queensland town for just $1

Yelarbon

Unprecedented auction of town's business centre with no reserve

Work starts on $15M Caloundra apartment building

Turning the first sod at the Aqua View Apartments site in Kings Beach are (from left) husband-and-wife developers Alex Yuan and Stella Sun with construction company Tomkins director Mike Tomkins and Councillor Tim Dwyer.

Developers excited about addition to Kings Beach skyline

72-year-old Coast developer set to start new project

GREEN LIGHT: The Cosmopolitan has been approved for development at Cotton Tree.

Meet the Canberran set to deliver another chapter for Coast suburb

Plans revealed for 1500-lot 'master-planned community'

Precinct will be bounded by Boundary St and Shoesmith Rd

Ecco Ripley sales run sparks prime release

MOVING IN: Sekisui House has announced the release of more residential blocks at Ecco Ripley.

Sekisui House is preparing to unveil more land at Ecco Ripley