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When Dorothy Fowler left Ireland to work as a nanny in Greece in the 1980s, she had no idea the course of her life would change so dramatically.

Having fallen in love with an Egyptian man 12 years her senior, Dorothy soon fell pregnant and married the man who would later go on to abuse her before ultimately snatching the daughter they welcomed into the world together in 1989.

Attempting to reconcile with her husband after initially returning to Ireland with her daughter Shaymaa, Dorothy, then 20-years-old, returned to Greece but quickly realised her mistake, saying: "He hadn't changed, if anything he was more violent."

Dorothy tried to leave with her daughter again, but was told she would be returning to her native Ireland alone, with the now mum-of-four recalling: "I told them I wasn't leaving without my daughter but they said if I tried to take her they would cut her head off. I was petrified."


Reflecting on a situation which no mother should ever have to endure, Dorothy recalled: "I couldn't take it in, I was in shock, my baby had been kidnapped but I was terrified that he would kill her if I went back."

"I was in a state but convinced myself that once I was in the UK and safe I could get my baby back through the courts," she remembered.

"I sat numb in shock unable to take it in", she added. "All of my family were waiting for us at the airport but I was too upset to even explain what had happened initially. I locked myself in my flat and cried."

Dorothy soon learned that her daughter had been taken to Cairo by her father which meant Dorothy was unable to gain access to her through any legal route as she was out of jurisdiction.


In 2004, Dorothy received a call from the British Embassy who told her that the now 15-year-old Shaymaa has been spotted in Cairo, recalling: "It was my first ray of hope in 13 years. I would have done anything to get there."

Despite searching the streets for her, Dorothy failed to locate her daughter, and resigned herself to a life without her first-born when Shaymaa's father suddenly made contact last August .

He told Dorthy he would reveal Shaymaa's whereabouts in return for a British passport, with Dorothy recalling: "I knew I couldn't do that but decided to play along in the hope that I might get information."


Having eventually been given her daughter's phone number by her reluctant former partner, Dorothy could barely contain her excitement at finally speaking to the person she was separated from 24 years earlier.

"We laughed and we cried and talked, the bond was there instantly. She did not blame me, there was no anger. Her English was quite good," Dorothy explained while revealing that Shaymaa had been raised by her father's sister and had no contact with her dad.

Upon finally meeting her daughter, who is now a mum herself,  in Egypt, Dorothy remembered: "We were both crying. I was shaking. It was overwhelming. She looked just like me."


We are wishing Dorothy and Shaymaa all the very best as they catch up on lost time.


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