“We left Syria three years ago because of the bombing,” Haitham explains. “Our home was destroyed and my wife died of her shrapnel wounds. Other members of my family were killed too, and it traumatized the children. We lost everything, but my wife is my greatest loss. She can’t be replaced.”
Haitham and his family fled to Lebanon, where Handicap International not only provides Haitham with physical therapy, but also support to other members of his family.
“A few months ago, I got up to go to the toilet," Haitham says. "Suddenly, I collapsed and I couldn’t get up again. I called out and my family rushed to help me. I stayed at the hospital for two days then a week later, I suffered a second stroke. I think they have been caused by all the stress. Money is the biggest problem here. Sometimes, we don’t even have enough to buy water.”
Elias, a Handicap International social worker, says Haitham has come a long way. “When we first met Haitham he couldn’t walk or speak. He can now move and communicate with us."
During Elias’ visits with Haitham she notices that one of his granddaughters, Saja, 8, has difficulty moving and communicating. Elias explains, “we’re trying to arrange some tests to find out if she has myopathy. If she does, physical therapy is going to be vital to her, too.”
Saja’s mother, Najah, notes, “my daughter finds it difficult to express herself and to stand up. I’m worried and all I want is for her living conditions to improve.” Najah’s level of anxiety has increased since having a baby eight months ago, who also suffers from health issues.
“Since he left the hospital, we’ve had to pay more than $200 a month for medicine that keeps him alive,” she explains. “Can you imagine how hard it is to afford this amount of money when you’re a refugee?”
For refugee families like Haitham’s, Handicap International’s assistance in Lebanon is vital. Since supplying relief to Syrian refugees in Lebanon since 2012, we put a special emphasis on helping those with disabilities and serious injuries. Learn more about our work in Lebanon.