Abd Alnor’s mother was shaken when he had his first seizure at age two. She rushed him to the hospital where doctors diagnosed him with epilepsy and developmental disabilities.
At age four, Abd Alnor started to stand upright. His mother took him regularly to rehabilitation sessions. That is, until they had to flee Syria in 2013.
The now 11-year-old continues to have difficulty with daily activities, especially fine motor activities such as dressing and moving his hands. After settling in a refugee camp in Jordan, his mother struggled to find affordable rehabilitation services for her son. He didn’t receive treatment for a long period of time and his mother was very concerned about her son’s isolation. “He doesn’t want to interact with other children and can't play with others,” she says.
Then, Abd Alnor and his mother were introduced to Humanity & Inclusion’s rehabilitation team.
Finding accessible services
The family lives in a rented basement with Abd Alnor’s three brothers and sisters near the Irbid refugee camp. They use a wheelchair to go outside with Abd Alnor.
During their rounds, Humanity & Inclusion’s community-based volunteers met the family and informed them about the accessible services at Basma Hospital, Humanity & Inclusion’s partner hospital in Irbid city. With our support, Abd Alnor resumed his therapy.
It has been a great change for this family as many refugee families often face serious difficulties to access health services.
Regular physical therapy
Physical therapy aims to increase power of the trunk muscles in order to be more independent from sitting to standing. The occupational therapist has helped him to become more independent in daily activities such as bathing and dressing.
The psychosocial worker is helping Abd Alnor interact with people around him and to be able to play with toys. “Abd Alnor now interacts more with others and tries to play with children,” his mother continues. “He doesn’t feel isolated and isn’t ashamed. The effect of psychosocial therapy is like magic.”
Abd Alnor is beginning to improve his movement, especially in the transfer from sitting on the floor to standing. Dressing and grooming continue to be difficult for him.
He now tries to hold the laces of his shoes by himself. He also enjoys playing with the sand in the center with the occupational therapist. He likes building castles in the mud. His mother adds: "I’d like to see my son do it all by himself."
Having an amputation was the hardest decision 48-year-old Fadi had to make. In 2016, he was diagnosed with skin cancer on the right ankle and in order for him to survive, he had to have the life-changing surgery.
"At the beginning, I was shocked when the doctors told me that they had to amputate my leg,” he says. “I asked them if there was no better solution.” Fadi’s main concern with having his leg amputated was how he would financially support his family.
“After surgery, I was discouraged and downhearted. But, thanks to the support of my relatives, I started to feel better."
Deeply impoverished after fleeing the Syrian conflict, Fadi, his wife, and five children rent an apartment in a two-floor building in Rusaifa, Zarga Governorate in Jordan.
Rehabilitation support from Humanity & Inclusion
Every working day, Humanity & Inclusion’s mobile teams visits Zarqa to help identify people in need of rehabilitation and psychological support. During one of their visits, they met Fadi. It was just days after his surgery.
Humanity & Inclusion’s rehabilitation team provided him with mobility equipment and physical therapy sessions so he could gain strength for a prosthesis. A few months later, he was fit with a below-knee silicone prosthesis. He received financial support for transportation from his home to the rehabilitation center. Otherwise, accessing this vital health care would have been nearly impossible for the father.
"Humanity & Inclusion’s team always supports me when I need help with my prosthesis. Before, I always had to ask someone else to go out and get things for me. From now on, I can walk around and use public transportation without assistance.” Today, Fadi can go grocery shopping, to the mosque, and to the hospital for medical check-ups, all on his own.
Hope for a better future
He is now looking for a job. "I wish to find a new job to secure an income for my family,” he adds. "I want to support my children to carry on their education to give them a better future."
Last year, Ahed lost his right leg due to complications with diabetes. Since then, Manal, a physical therapist with Humanity & Inclusion at the Zarqa Rehabilitation Center in Jordan has been providing him with vital support. Manal is teaching Ahed how to keep his balance and move around on crutches so that he can move more independently. She also teaches him how to do strengthening exercises at home. "I thought it would take me at least three years to walk again but it took me just four months," says Ahed.
Personalized rehabilitation care
Humanity & Inclusion’s rehabilitation team provides comprehensive support to beneficiaries through its partnership with the Zarqa Rehabilitation Center. For Ahed, our team provided him with occupational therapy, physical therapy, and psychological support. We also fit his leg with a new prosthetic.
Humanity & Inclusion prioritizes organizing rehabilitation programs in consultation with patients, starting with their motivations and goals. Because of this method, Ahed is already in a much better condition psychologically. The team describes him as a new man. "At first, I wasn’t at all motivated,” Ahed says. “I felt there was nothing that could be done. But everything has changed and today I know I can do anything. I could even run if I wanted to," adds Ahed.
Our team organizes group therapy sessions which give patients opportunities to meet each other, to witness each stage in the rehabilitation process, and to see the practical steps people take to achieve their goals. During his group therapy sessions, Ahed met other amputees and opened up about the distress his amputation was causing him. The group’s members encouraged him to continue with his rehabilitation sessions and visited him to help cheer him up and show their support.
"I wanted to be like everyone else, to socialize and get out of the house. But right after my amputation my health got worse and I had to start dialysis to keep my kidneys functioning. I was depressed. When I met other amputee patients, I felt much more motivated. I thought: if he can walk, why can't I?"
Thanks to his new prosthetic leg and the rehabilitation care he received from Humanity & Inclusion, Ahed has the independence and mobility to move around on his own.
Millions of families have been forced to abandon their homes after years of conflict and violence. In places like Yemen, Iraq, and Syria, people struggle to stay alive in their communities, until they have no other choice but to flee.
This month marks two anniversaries that no one is celebrating: Four years of conflict in Yemen and eight in Syria.
- An estimated 190,350 Yemenis have fled to neighboring countries
- More than 280,000 people are seeking refuge in Yemen
- An estimated 400,000 Syrians have been killed, according to the United Nations
- As of December 2016, 4.81 million Syrians have fled the country
- 6.3 million Syrians are displaced internally
- More than 10 million Syrians are exposed to the risk posed by explosive remnants of war
- 2.1 million Iraqis displaced inside the country
- More than 360,000 Iraqis displaced, living in unfinished and abandoned buildings
Humanity & Inclusion provides emergency care to people with disabilities and injuries living in Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, and Yemen. Every day, our teams meet beneficiaries who share horrifying stories of bombs, torture, terror, and escape. But we take stock of their strength. Their survival. And together we set new goals. We celebrate new victories, however small.
Abdelkrim, 60, from Homs, Syria
"One day, while I was in front of the house, I saw planes in the sky. I thought I saw an unmanned aircraft in the middle of reconnaissance. Then it launched a missile that exploded in the street. Shrapnel came into my left leg." Abdelkrim bandaged his leg and when he finally made it to a doctor, he was told it had to be amputated due to infection. Today, Abdelkrim is recovering thanks to the rehabilitation care he receives from Humanity & Inclusion's team in Jordan. "I wish the war would end and that everyone could return in peace and security."
Warda's family, from Iraq
In February 2017, Warda and her family were caught in an explosion as they were fleeing Mosul, Iraq. After having both of her legs amputated, the young woman recovered in a hospital on the outskirts of the city, with her husband and daughter, who were also injured. Humanity & Inclusion's rehabilitation team provided Warda and her family with psychological support and physical therapy.
Yesser, 12, from Yemen
Yasser was doing homework next to his father when they were both struck by an explosion. Yasser lost his leg and his father did not survive. Today, Yasser receives rehabilitation care from Humanity & Inclusion's team in Yemen.
Wafa, 42, from Homs, Syria
"The planes attacked the city and sent bombs without any mercy to the families and innocent children who still lived there." In July 2012, three bombs fell on Wafa's house. During the attack, Wafa broke her left leg. "When I came out of the coma, my burns and my leg were terribly painful. But this pain was nothing compared to what I felt when I learned that four of my children had died. I could not protect them." Today, Wafa receives rehabilitation care from Humanity & Inclusion's team in Jordan.
Ali, 1, from Iraq
In April 2017, Ali and his family were used as human shields in Mosul, Iraq. Caught in a bombing, Ali was severely injured and his parents and brother were killed. The young boy receives rehabilitation care from Humanity & Inclusion's team in Iraq. Our team also provides his aunt and uncle, who are taking care of him, with advice on how to help Ali with physical therapy exercises.
Kamal, 15, from Dera'a, Syria
"I woke up with shards of glass all over my body and the bedroom door had collapsed on me. The air was dusty. My brother was trying to take me to my mother's room, but I could not hold onto both of my legs." The family manages, with difficulty, to bring Kamal to the nearest hospital: "My whole body was covered with blood. I was operated on briefly at first, then I had two operations to both my hand and my legs. I've never used weapons, and yet it was me that was bombed. I feel only sadness. When you do not feel safe in your own country, where can you be?" Today, Kamal receives rehabilitation support from Humanity & Inclusion in Jordan.
Ali, 20, from Syria
In 2013, Ali lost the use of his legs after being seriously injured in a bombing in Syria. The young Syrian refugee now lives with his family in a makeshift camp in the Beqaa Valley in Lebanon. Humanity & Inclusion's rehabilitation team has been helping him adapt to his disability through physical therapy.
As part of a project to improve the health of vulnerable young children in Jordan, Humanity & Inclusion teams seek out families with children with disabilities who are not receiving proper medical care. Children with disabilities and developmental delays are connected with medical centers and rehabilitation services.
The team recently heard about five-year-old Ossama. Since contracting meningitis at two, Ossama, has developed behavioral problems and a speech disorder. "Ossama is hyperactive and frequently gets himself into trouble,” says his mother. “We have to keep the windows closed night and day. We’re constantly afraid he might hurt himself.”
Ossama was supposed to start school this year, but his hyperactivity and inability to communicate clearly has prevented that. “If his condition improves, I’d like to enroll him in school—especially for language skills,” says his mother. “However, right now, he can’t be left unattended."
HI connected Ossama and his family with a primary health center run by one of its partners. He will meet with the center’s specialists, who will make a detailed assessment of his condition and develop a treatment plan. The organization will cover the cost of the consultation and Ossama’s rehabilitation sessions.
At the start of the war in Syria, Hussein, 72, and his family left their home to take refuge in Jordan. In the last few years, both Hussein and his wife have developed disabling medical conditions and the family has struggled to pay their medical bills as they lost all of their possessions and have no health insurance.
Hussein has arthritis in his knee which impedes his movements and causes serious pain. "Since the onset of my arthritis, there are lots of things I can no longer do,” says Hussein. “I cannot kneel to pray, I cannot walk very far, and it is difficult for me to go the shopping as I struggle to lift things."
Hussein’s wife has a heart condition, and can no longer stand, so the couple is entirely dependent on their adult son.
"Money is our biggest problem,” says Hussein. “We no longer own a house, so we have to pay rent, and the medical expenses quickly mount up.”
Recently, Humanity & Inclusion has stepped up to help cover the cost of their medical care. Hussein has been able to attend physical therapy sessions at a hospital that partners with HI. His condition has improved as he has progressed with his PT, and he now finds it easier to walk. Life is still hard for the family, but thanks to our donors, the family’s burden is a little bit lighter.
Several years ago, during the war in Syria, Ibrahim, a construction worker, heard gunfire nearby. He ran away in the opposite direction, right into the path of an oncoming bomb. Fragments from the bomb explosion tore into his leg. He was transferred to a hospital across the border in Jordan, where is leg had to be amputated. Later, Humanity & Inclusion fitted him for a prosthetic leg.
“The prosthesis has become part of me,” says Ibrahim, who is now using his seventh prosthesis. “When something breaks, I've learned how to replace the broken part with a spare from my old prostheses. The only part I can't replace is the silicone section. If that breaks, I contact HI.”
Ibrahim has had several surgeries on his leg, and each time he needs to be fitted for a new prosthesis. “I like how staff check on me on a regular basis and provide proper follow-up for the maintenance of each new leg.”
Since moving to Jordan, Ibrahim met his wife and they now have two sons. "When I was on my own, it didn't matter to me that I had lost my leg,” says Ibrahim. “But my marriage has changed that.”
Trying to provide for his family has been a challenge, especially since he can’t work in construction due to his disability. He works six days a week in a shop, but the wages are very low. Despite working 12-hour days, Ibrahim struggles to cover the family’s expenses.
“It isn’t easy to find a good job,” says Ibrahim. “When employers see that you only have one leg, they don’t want to hire you.”
A study, carried out by HI and iMMAP, found that one in five Syrian refugees has a disability, and much more needs to be done to connect refugees with disabilities to humanitarian services. You can read the full reports from Jordan and Lebanon.
Zyad was an athlete in Syria. Then war came and a bomb destroyed his right leg below the knee. Now, the father of three, a refugee in Irbid, Jordan, can barely stand.
The day we met him in Jordan, he couldn’t leave his home. On days like this, Zyad sits in the same position—any movement triggers unbearable pain. Simple, everyday tasks like washing dishes are extremely difficult. He can no longer walk and has to take taxis everywhere—a cost his family cannot bear after losing their home and land in Syria.
No work, no income
Without Zyad’s income, the family struggles to make ends meet. His wife balances caring for her family with work. She provides day-to-day care for Zyad as well as her youngest daughter, who has asthma and tissue damage to her hand from the bombing. The rest of the time she cleans schools to earn money. Her two older sons go from one menial job to another.
Support from Humanity & Inclusion
A few months ago, Humanity & Inclusion volunteers were visiting Zyad’s neighborhood to identify people with disabilities who needed support. The team was also surveying Syrian refugees in Jordan and Lebanon about the barriers they face in accessing humanitarian aid.
The registered Zyad with the local hospital, where a doctor first suspected that he might have still have bomb fragments in his knee. An x-ray showed a different culprit: arthritis. The cartilage of his knee joint is significantly degraded, causing him great pain.
The doctor prescribed physical therapy sessions—all free (even the transport to the sessions) thanks to donors. The therapy some relief, and he was able to walk on crutches. However, his condition is degenerative, and pain is never far from the surface.
Helping people with disabilities
Zyad has begun informing other people with disabilities about Humanity & Inclusion's work. Today, he’s the organization’s point of contact for identifying and registering people with disabilities in his neighborhood.
The study carried out by Humanity & Inclusion
A study, carried out by Humanity & Inclusion and iMMAP, found that one in five Syrian refugees has a disability, and much more needs to be done to connect refugees with disabilities to humanitarian services. You can read the full reports from Jordan and Lebanon.
Dedicated to improving the lives of young children with disabilities and developmental delays, Humanity & Inclusion teams go door to door in cities and towns in northern Jordan to find children who are not receiving adequate care and support.
Since July 2017, thanks in part to support from the Dorothea Haus Ross Foundation, staff have identified more than 450 children with disabilities, like two-year-old Safaa, and connected them with rehabilitation centers and other services.
Before meeting Humanity & Inclusion, Safaa, who has cerebral palsy, was unable to walk. "I used to have to carry her everywhere,” Safaa’s mother says. “Today she can walk, and I feel much better now that her situation has improved.”
Safaa works with a physical therapist and speech therapist regularly. Through Humanity & Inclusion, Safaa’s mother met another mother whose children with cerebral palsy have been able to start school. This made her more hopeful about the future.
“I’d like Safaa to attend school, too,” she says. “The therapists say she’ll probably be able to go one day.”