Abdulaleem survived a mine accident in Yemen. Fitted with an artificial limb by Humanity & Inclusion’s team, he is looking forward to the future.
Abdulaleem Abd Allah Abo Suraima, 17, lives in southern Yemen with his four brothers and nine sisters. When he was 16, Abdulaleem survived a landmine explosion, but lost his leg. Humanity & Inclusion's rehabilitation services have fitted him with an artificial limb.
Abdulaleem was working on the farm when he heard an explosion in the mountains. He knew that one of his friends was up there with his herd.
"I heard him scream,” recalls Abdulaleem. I ran to his aid and that's when another mine exploded beneath me. I lost consciousness."
Abdulaleem’s brothers and some villagers rushed to help him. They took him to Rada'a hospital, where the doctors managed to stop the bleeding. He was then transferred to a hospital in Sana'a, the country's capital.
"When we arrived, the doctors said they would have to amputate my leg above the knee,” he explains. “My brother refused–he insisted that they amputate below the knee.”
The difficult return home
Abdulaleem spent almost two months in the hospital after his operation. When he was finally able return home, he was faced with a number of new challenges. He had to use crutches to get around and all his routine activities were now more difficult.
"I couldn't go to the farm, to the mosque, anywhere,” he says. “Even drinking water was difficult.”
Losing his leg took its toll on his morale. He lost all motivation and ambition.
"For me, life had lost its meaning,” he continues. “I only wanted one thing–to get a prosthesis so I could walk again!”
A new leg for a new life
After Humanity & Inclusion’s teams met Abdulaleem, they measured his leg to make an artificial limb. A week later, he was fitted for the prosthetic. He then received rehabilitation treatment to learn to walk with his new leg.
"After a lot of sessions, I could get around with my prosthesis,” he explains with a smile on his face. “I went home and could walk like before! I got my motivation and ambition back.”
Thanks to his new artificial leg, Abdulaleem is looking forward to the future again. He has big plans: he wants to build his own house, to get married and to buy a farm to raise sheep.
"In my village there are many other people with mine injuries,” he adds. “They too are waiting for help. Thank you very much, HI!"
More than a year after U.S. troops withdrew from Afghanistan and the Taliban seized control, Humanity & Inclusion's teams continue to work with civilians injured in conflict.
These photos show three children who are thriving with rehabilitation care and psychosocial support.
Sosan, 13, from Naw Badam
One day, when Sosan and her father were out for a walk, she was hit in the leg by a bullet. Her father rushed her to hospital, but she lost the use of her leg.
Sosan was given rehabilitation sessions to learn to walk again using a walker. She talked to Marzia, a psychologist with Humanity & Inclusion, who helped her cope with the sadness she was feeling. Today, Sosan is back at school.
"Whenever I have any free time, I draw, sew or read. I love reading books in English. After my studies, I want to become an English teacher.”
Asef, 10, from Herat
One day, on their way to school, Asef and his friends approached an unfamiliar object. It was a mine. It exploded, killing his sister and cousins. Asef lost his right leg in the accident. With the support of Humanity & Inclusion, Asef received an artificial limb and crutches. He is now having rehabilitation sessions to learn to walk again.
"Thanks to the help of Dr Hashimi, I can walk again. In the day, I go to the mosque and draw at home. My school is too far away, so I can't go back there yet. But as soon as I’m better, I want to go back to school. Then I can become a doctor myself and help other people.”
Yasamin, 8, from Herat
Yasamin was injured by shelling as her family attempted to flee their village. Strengthening her muscles with physical therapy and using a leg brace, she's able to walk again and has returned to school.
Jean Mario Joseph was seriously injured in the earthquake that struck Haiti in August 2021, requiring his right leg to be amputated. Today, he receives physical rehabilitation and psychosocial support from Humanity & Inclusion.Read more
In Ethiopia, children are increasingly facing food insecurity. Humanity & Inclusion uses stimulation therapy to prevent development delays for children experiencing malnourishment.
The Horn of Africa is experiencing one of the worst droughts the area has ever seen. In Ethiopia alone, more than 8 million people have been affected and over 17 million people are in need of agricultural support. 4 million livestock have been lost, and 30 million more are at risk of starvation, further reducing food sources. Additionally, the average price of food items has increased by 40% since 2019.
“When children face malnutrition, it is highly likely that they will suffer developmental delay,” explains Gadisa Obsi, a physical therapist with Humanity & Inclusion in Ethiopia. “They may have difficulty performing daily activities compared to other children of the same age. Malnutrition can also lead to disability in the long term.”
Preventing long-term consequences
Humanity & Inclusion is present in the largest refugee camp in Gambella, Ethiopia, supporting displaced children with developmental delays resulting from malnutrition.
Complementary to nutrition support provided by Humanity & Inclusion partners, stimulation therapy uses play-based rehabilitation exercises to strengthen child development and prevent the disabilities that might occur as a result of malnutrition.
Obsi and his team identify children in need in the community, provide therapy sessions and do as much follow-up as possible. They also inform caregivers about early-childhood development and the importance of early exposure to stimulated play and human interactions in physical and cognitive development.
Making a difference
Nyatut Tholbok is is an 18-month-old child originally from South Sudan. She’s living as a refugee in Gambella with her mother, Nyabem Kher. When she first met Humanity & Inclusion’s team, Nyatut showed signs of severe malnutrition, and her motor skills had suffered tremendously. She struggled to stand on her own, or even to crawl like other children her age. With Humanity & Inclusion’s ongoing therapy sessions and nutrition assistance from partner Action Against Hunger, Nyatut has made noticeable improvements in her follow-up sessions. She has already begun to stand and continues to improve her mobility.
“The impact on the life of the child, their family and the community is immense,” Obsi explains. “We are so proud to have been successful in preventing developmental delay for many children while they were recovering from malnutrition.”
These activities are funded by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration.
At the Kakuma Refugee Camp and Kalobeyei settlement in Kenya, Humanity & Inclusion operates a number of inclusive projects to assist people with disabilities. One family demonstrates the importance of this holistic approach to humanitarian aid.
When Armele’s mother led her and her seven siblings to flee the Democratic Republic of the Congo, they did not know where to go. The family sought refuge in Kenya, ending up at Kakuma Refugee Camp and eventually the more permanent Kalobeyei settlement.
The family settled in, accessing vital services like food and housing. But two of Armele’s sisters, Lydia and Jolie, required additional assistance. Lydia, 10, lives with paralysis caused by hydrocephalus–a buildup of fluid on the brain that, if left untreated, can cause permanent physical and cognitive disabilities. Jolie, 6, was born with cerebral palsy, creating difficulties for her to walk and speak.
“When we came here, we looked for somewhere to get help,” Armele says. “We were told to visit Humanity & Inclusion’s rehabilitation center. We took Lydia and Jolie there and started doing exercises four days a week.”
Getting to the therapy sessions was challenging. The nearest rehabilitation center is in the next village–a 45-minute trek through the desert. Unable to walk, Lydia and Jolie relied on their mother and siblings to carry them to and from their appointments. Occasionally, they were able to arrange to be dropped off by motorbike–the most common mode of transportation in the camp.
With funding from the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration, Humanity & Inclusion provides the only rehabilitation services in Kakuma.
Therapy at home
As the sisters began to show improvement, Humanity & Inclusion’s specialists were able to shift the rehabilitation sessions to the family’s home. Physical therapists and community rehabilitation workers living in the settlement, who Humanity & Inclusion has trained in rehabilitation techniques, visit them two to three times a week, massaging their muscles and leading them through functional exercises. The girls’ caregivers have also learned how to continue their treatment at home.
“Jolie has come so far,” Armele explains. “She depended on a caregiver for everything until she started the therapy program. Now she can talk, move and go to school.”
Jolie received a walker to help her cover long distances, and specialists are still working to help improve her balance. Able to walk on her own, Jolie is now enrolled in school.
“I like to run and sing,” she says.
Lydia’s disability is more severe, but the family has seen improvements in her movement and mood. She lights up when Armele lifts her into her special wheelchair, which supports her posture and makes it easier for her to leave the confines of home.
In addition to rehabilitation and education assistance, Humanity & Inclusion has helped the girls’ mother establish a business to care for her family. With support from Mastercard Foundation, she received a microgrant to fund inventory for her clothing store in the village. She is able to generate income to better care for her eight children, while the older siblings take care of Lydia and Jolie. With her earnings, she purchased a mattress for the children to sleep more comfortably.
“Humanity & Inclusion supports us a lot, especially my mom,” Armele says. “Since we came here as refugees, we didn’t know where to start from. Humanity & inclusion has given our mom an opportunity to take care of us children. We learn from her. She takes care of all of us.”
The family also receives mental health and psychosocial support, joining other community members in a support system for caregivers of people with disabilities. With a referral to UNHCR from Humanity & Inclusion, the family also had a special coating applied to the metal roof of their home to provide better insulation and cooler temperatures for the family members who stay there throughout the hottest part of the day.
“We are one family,” Armele says. “With Humanity & Inclusion, we are one family.”
Thwol, 60, had her leg amputated several years ago following complications from diabetes. At the Kalobeyei settlement in Kenya, Humanity & Inclusion offers her rehabilitation, an artificial limb and psychosocial support.
Thwol sits on a quilt, shaded by a tarp at the back of her home made of natural materials at Kalobeyei settlement in Kenya. A large piece of fabric is draped over her lap, with colorful and intricate patterns of beads that she’s added one by one. She counts each line, picking up the correct bead from the small tin beside her, threading it with a needle and placing it meticulously. Chickens, provided to her family by the World Food Program, peck the ground around her.
The beading is something she brought with her from Ethiopia, her home country that she left more than 10 years ago. Beading is “my culture,” she explains, simply.
Beading keeps Thwol busy. The repetition and creativity are therapeutic. The craft has given her a way to connect with her neighbors and generate income. Beading, along with rehabilitation and psychosocial support from Humanity & Inclusion, helped bring Thwol out of a dark place where she found herself after complications from diabetes required doctors to amputate her leg.
Providing artificial limbs
Thwol was living in Dadaab refugee camp in the eastern part of Kenya, when she began to notice peeling and swelling of her right foot. Humanity & Inclusion’s specialists referred her to a hospital, where her leg was amputated below the knee. She was fitted with crutches and an artificial limb.
When Thwol was moved from Dadaab to Kakuma, another refugee camp in northwestern Kenya, Humanity & Inclusion’s specialists working at both camps communicated to ensure she received follow-up care. By the time Thwol arrived at Kakuma, her crutches were in need of repair and she needed a new artificial limb. Humanity & Inclusion’s team equipped her with new crutches right away, and she was added to the list of people awaiting prosthetics-fitting.
“Humanity & Inclusion is the only organization providing prostheses at the camp,” says Andrew Mwangi, Humanity & Inclusion’s prosthetics and orthotics officer. “The funding is never enough for the need."
Humanity & Inclusion can guarantee new artificial limbs for about 25 people living in Kakuma every year. The process from the time a need is identified to when a person begins walking with their new leg can be long.
"We give people crutches first for walking as we strengthen their muscles of the affected limb, then we do stump-shaping and desensitization before booking them for fitting and gait training,” Mwangi adds.
Children need new artificial limbs every six months or so as they grow, though adults can typically get by with repairs in between necessary replacements.
For Thwol, her artificial leg has given her a sense of independence.
“Before, I could not move from one place to another,” she says. “Now, I can go places, to the market, to church.”
Sense of community
Humanity & Inclusion’s psychosocial support team also works with Thwol, helping her to cope with her disability. Through counseling, Thwol came to realize the importance of channeling her energy into something productive like her beadwork.
“She can use her hands to make beading,” explains Wilkister Nyamweya, Humanity & Inclusion’s psychosocial support officer. “She meets with other women—with and without disabilities—to teach them this craft. It’s given her a sense of belonging and satisfaction.”
Thwol pulls herself across the quilt in her backyard, lifting herself into a chair and strapping into her artificial leg.
“My life has changed,” she says. “With all of the help from Humanity & Inclusion, I have a life now. I’m still alive.”
These activities are funded by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration.
Gaëlle Smith, Humanity & Inclusion’s emergency rehabilitation specialist, was deployed to Ukraine to support the local teams. She shares her experience treating patients at a hospital in Dnipro.Read more
After surviving an explosive remnant of war accident, Enayatullah’s right leg was amputated. Now, he’s walking again with the help of an artificial limb and rehabilitation care provided by Humanity & Inclusion.
Enayatullah, 9, was playing with a group of children in his village in Afghanistan, when they came across some explosive remnants of war. The devices exploded, killing four of them and injuring six others—including Enayatullah and his eight-year-old cousin. No one knows for certain what kind of explosive remnants the children found, but they were most likely munitions left over from the fighting in the area in 2021.
Enayatullah was rushed 20 miles to Mirwais Regional Hospital in Kandahar where he stayed for 40 days. The surgeons tried to save his right leg, but it was too damaged and had to be amputated. When his health improved, he was referred to Humanity & Inclusion’s rehabilitation center, which first opened in 1996.
During the first sessions, he was very nervous, still traumatized by the accident. But he gradually learned to trust the team and worked hard on his physical therapy exercises.
Since his first consultation in November, he has visited the center five times for physical rehabilitation sessions. He was also given walking aids, had a cast made for his artificial leg and attended fittings until the device was finally ready for use. In the future, Enayatullah will return to the center to have his artificial limb repaired and replaced as he grows.
Today, Enayatullah is independent and able to walk on his own again. He can play with his friends, go to school and visit relatives. He likes to play with toy cars and wants to be a truck driver when he grows up.
A stroke left Raizy partially paralyzed and stole her independence. Through rehabilitation sessions with Humanity & Inclusion’s local partner, she’s improving her mobility and adapting to daily activities.
Raizy, 54, has four adult children. Originally from the Tulear region of Madagascar, she traveled far and wide with her business. When she was 40, Raizy experienced a stroke, which left the right side of her body paralyzed. Ever since, she has used a wheelchair to get around and says she must depend on others to complete daily activities.
“Since I can’t move anymore, I have to depend on others to do everything for me,” Raizy explains. “I cannot even feed myself. Sometimes I call for help and nobody comes, I feel powerless and it makes me sad. I don’t want to sit anymore.
"My greatest wish is just to walk again. I want to take care of my children, my grandchildren, and return to my business.”
Raizy was referred to Humanity & Inclusion’s partner rehabilitation center. Because Raizy did not start rehabilitation care until years after her stroke, the paralysis is more difficult to overcome. Covid-19 precautions presented an additional challenge.
“We had finally started to see some progress, but with the pandemic, Raizy had to stop coming to the center altogether,” says Denis, a physical therapist at the rehabilitation center. “She is now able to come back again, but she has lost her progress and the paralysis is now also affecting her left side.”
At the rehabilitation center in Tulear, Raizy regularly works with Humanity & Inclusion’s rehabilitation partners to help improve her movement. She receives massages to release muscle tension and improve flexibility and participates in one-on-one sessions with Denis to strengthen her arms, legs and core. Raizy also exercises using a stationary bike.
“Right now, we are working on little movements like lifting her hands and touching her nose,” Denis explains. Later we will help her learn to hold and write with a pen. We also exercise her upper body so that she will be able to sit up on her own one day. I try some exercises without holding her, and I push her gently on one side so that she has to balance herself and it helps her core muscles grow. She will gain stability and upper body muscles.”
Denis says there is still a long way to go before Raizy reaches her dream of walking again, but in the meantime, his focus is on restoring her independence.
“We are still rehabilitating her muscles, but most importantly we are helping her to adapt to her daily life,” he continues. “If she cannot lift her spoon with her right hand, we help her find another way to use her spoon. If she cannot walk on her feet, we must find another way for her to get around efficiently. This way, she can have her life back, even if it doesn’t look exactly the same.”
Gina, 13, received surgery and rehabilitation treatment for a hip deformity. Today, she can walk without difficulty and is back at school.
Once they arrived in Jordan, Gina's parents noticed that she was limping and in pain when she walked. After consultations, an orthopedic doctor diagnosed her with hip dysplasia.
“Going to school was very difficult, because my classroom is on the second floor and it was painful to climb the stairs,” Gina explains.
With Humanity & Inclusion’s support, Gina had successful hip surgery in November 2021. After the operation, she spent six weeks at home in a cast.
Gina received rehabilitation treatment three times a week at the Zarka Community Development Center, operated by Humanity & Inclusion's local partner. She also did exercises at home.
Her rehabilitation sessions involved strength and balance training and range of motion exercises. At first, she couldn’t walk on her own and used a walker for short trips and a wheelchair for longer ones.
As her caregiver, Gina's mother was given advice on how to assist her with her day-to-day activities at home.
Three months after starting her rehabilitation exercises, Gina was walking on her own again.
“The home exercises were very effective," Gina says. “Now I can walk on my own again and without pain.”
Gina is ambitious. She is learning Spanish and hopes to be fluent one day. She dreams of being a veterinarian so she can help animals.
“I like to stay at home with my family during the summer holidays,” Gina adds. “We all cook together and sometimes we go swimming. I love that.”
These activities are funded in part by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration.