Donations made by a United Arab Emirates (UAE)-based Indian student and a businessmen helped 68 stranded Indians fly home amid the COVID-19 pandemic, it was reported. Also Read - Odisha Lockdown: COVID-19 Patients Can Now be Admitted to Private Hospitals For Treatment

The passengers were among 171 Indians from the northeast who were repatriated on the second direct flight from Dubai to Guwahati on Thursday, Gulf News reported on Friday. Also Read - IPL 2020: From Cheerleaders to WAGS, Things You Will Not See During T20 Tournament in UAE Amid COVID-19 Pandemic

Delhi Public School Sharjah Grade 8 student Ananya Srivastava broke her piggy bank to pay for two more passengers’ tickets. Also Read - COVID-19 Vaccine to Cost Less Than Rs 250 Per Dose: Serum Institute

“I was inspired when I heard about the group of volunteers collecting funds to send expats home who do not have the resources and the money. I desperately wanted to contribute but with my own effort and not with my parents’ money,” said the 13-year-old Indian national who was born in the UAE.

“I broke my piggy bank and collected my savings, around 3,000 dirhams, which will pay for two tickets.”

Meanwhile, Dubai-based businessman and head of the Ajmal Perfumes brand, Amiruddin Ajmal, donated 100,000 dirhams to pay for the tickets of 66 passengers who could not afford their repatriation tickets, community volunteers who facilitated the charter flight service said.

Ajmal, whose family trace its roots back to Assam, said: “Our people from northeast were held up in the country… Me and my fellow directors decided to step in after we verified the authenticity of the volunteers.

“My only reason for doing this is to see people happy once they reunite with their families.”

The Thursday flight was the second one after a FlyDubai chartered plane travelled for the first time from Dubai to Guwahati on July 3.

According to the Indian Embassy in the UAE, more than 450,000 people have registered for repatriation, reports Gulf News.

While the state-run Air India was initially the only airline allowed to operate repatriation flights, the government has since allowed private companies to fly chartered planes.