A Vancouver-based company that places English teachers from Canada and other countries in schools around the world has launched a fundraising campaign for the family of one of their educators who was recently killed in Abu Dhabi.
Ibolya Ryan, called "Iby" by her friends, was sent to Abu Dhabi by Footprints Recruiting 16 months ago. Last Monday, the 47-year-old English teacher was stabbed to death in the women's washroom of an Abu Dhabi shopping mall. Police in the United Arab Emirates capital arrested a woman on Thursday in connection with the stabbing. The suspect is also alleged to have planted a bomb outside the home of an American doctor in Abu Dhabi.
Ms. Ryan, who held both Hungarian and U.S. citizenship, leaves behind twin sons, a daughter and a former husband.
Footprints Recruiting set up a fundraising campaign on Thursday to help with education costs for Ms. Ryan's children. Ben Glickman, co-owner of Footprints Recruiting, said Ms. Ryan's sister-in-law asked him to help with spearheading the campaign.
Dave Harvey, general manager of the company, said in an interview in Vancouver that the staff wanted to do something for the family. "It just seemed like … one of the only things we could really do to make an impact at the time."
Mr. Harvey said the family is appreciative of the campaign. According to the gofundme campaign page, donations will go toward an education fund for the three children, funeral costs and other expenses.
Donors raised $14,000 in the first 24 hours. As of Sunday, the campaign had reached more than $30,000.
Mr. Glickman co-founded Footprints 13 years ago. The company's Gastown Vancouver office of 10 people is "understandably shaken up, considering a number of them met her personally," said Mr. Glickman, also the company's managing director.
The company, which contacted its teachers in the UAE after the murder of Ms. Ryan, has no plans to change its placement policies.
"At this point no we don't have any plans on recommending that our teachers don't teach in the Middle East or that teachers pull out of the Middle East," Mr. Glickman said.
"The teachers over there are understandably concerned about the situation," Mr. Glickman said. "But no one has told us that they feel unsafe or they want to come home."
Normally, once a teacher takes a posting, they are "employees of the employer" and Footprints Recruiting does not interfere. But in this extraordinary situation, he said that the company would step in to work with an employer if a teacher wanted to leave their job in Abu Dhabi.
"Our role is to help both sides," he said.
Footprints Recruiting represents almost 1,000 teachers around the world. The majority of them teach in South Korea, China and the UAE. There are currently more than 200 teachers placed in UAE by Footprints Recruiting.
Ms. Ryan had been teaching for 17 years, including in Colorado where she was a special-education teacher, before being recruited by Footprints last year.
To donate to the campaign, go here