Syeda Zaidi, the woman from Hyderabad who was found homeless and living on the streets in Chicago has continued to refuse help to be sent home to India, according to a report in the Times Of India.
Zaidi had travelled to the United States to pursue a master's degree in Information Science at TRINE University, Detroit.
However, her dreams were shattered as she found herself battling depression and malnourishment on the streets of Chicago after all her belongings were allegedly stolen.
The distressing story came to public attention when a concerned citizen, Khaleequr Rahaman, who is a leader of the BRS (Better Reach Society), shared a poignant letter on social media. He later updated that he was able to get Minhaj in touch with a social activist in Chicago.
However, in a new update, the Indian Embassy in Chicago said despite offering all support to return India, Zaidi is yet to respond positively to them.
“We have repeatedly offered all support to Syeda Zaidi for her return to India. She is yet to respond positively,” the Indian Embassy in Chicago said on September 11.
Update on Syeda Minhaj Zaidi:— Khaleequr Rahman (@Khaleeqrahman) July 26, 2023
I was able to get in touch with Mr.Mukarram, who is a social worker in Chicago. He and his family met her & she is right now admitted into a hospital. He told me that she is in major depression & mentally unstable condition due to the financial… https://t.co/fLoHM0rEAC pic.twitter.com/3LyfXCYxqi
Indian Student Struggles In US
The letter was addressed to India's External Affairs Minister, Dr S. Jaishankar, and written by Zaidi's mother, Syeda Wahaj Fatima. In her emotional plea, Fatima sought urgent intervention from the Indian authorities to bring back her daughter from the United States.
"Syeda Lulu Minhaj Zaidi from Hyd went to pursue MS from TRINE University, Detroit, was found in a very bad condition in Chicago, IL. Her mother has appealed to @DrSJaishankar to bring back her daughter. Would appreciate the immediate help," Rahaman captioned the post on Twitter, accompanying it with a heart-wrenching video.
Ms.Syeda Lulu Minhaj Zaidi from Hyd went to pursue MS from TRINE University, Detroit was found in a very bad condition in Chicago, IL. Her mother has appealed @DrSJaishankar to bring back her daughter. Would appreciate the immediate help. @HelplinePBSK @IndiainChicago… pic.twitter.com/dh4M4nPwxZ— Khaleequr Rahman (@Khaleeqrahman) July 25, 2023
The video, captured by Rahaman himself, shows a visibly distressed and malnourished. Zaidi struggled to recall her name initially. However, she manages to recollect it afterwards, painting a poignant picture of her ordeal.
In the video, Rahaman can be heard offering food to the distraught young woman, further highlighting the dire circumstances she finds herself in.
According to the letter penned by Zaidi's mother, they had been in regular contact until two months ago when all communication ceased. It was only through two concerned youths from Hyderabad that the family learned about their daughter's dire situation in a foreign land.
Fatima in a recent interview with Free Press Journal said Minhaj was a former lecturer at Shadan College in Hyderabad but was impacted by the closure of classes during the pandemic in 2020, she moved to the US to do a Masters. Minhaj, a Mtech graduate, left for the country to pursue post-graduation in Information Science at Trine University in Detroit.
The theft of her belongings, as reported, left her with no resources, pushing her into a state of starvation and despair.
"My daughter Syeda Lulu Minhaj Zaidi, a resident of Maula Ali in Telangana, went to pursue her Masters in Information Science from TRINE University, Detroit, USA in August 2021 and was often in touch with us. For the past two months, she has not been in touch with me, and recently we came to know through two Hyderabad youths that my daughter is in depression and someone stole her belongings, which left her to starvation. My daughter was spotted on the roads of Chicago in the USA," the anguished mother's letter read.
The letter earnestly implored the Indian embassy in Washington DC and the Indian Consulate in Chicago to immediately step in and extend their support to bring Zaidi back to India without any delay. The family is hopeful that swift and necessary action will be taken in response to their plea.
As the news of Zaidi's ordeal spreads across social media platforms, netizens and concerned citizens are rallying to support the distressed student and her family.
The incident has brought to light the challenges faced by international students and the need for greater support systems to ensure their well-being while pursuing education abroad.
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