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Yemen

Gaining strength through mirror therapy and psychosocial support

"I was riding my motorbike when the airstrike happened,” Abdulrahmam says as he remembers the day he was injured in north Yemen. “I was hit by a shard of debris in my right arm. My arm almost fall apart, I was bleeding a lot. I lost consciousness. A truck driver picked me up and took me to Abs hospital. Later on, I was transferred to Sana'a.”

Abdulrahmam Ali Salem is from Aldabrah, a small village in the Hajjah governorate in North Yemen. The 34-year old father of four works selling vegetables and as a moto-taxi driver.

The trauma of an amputation

Abdulrahmam had to undergo emergency surgery and eventually, his arm had to be amputated. After surgery, he met Humanity & Inclusion’s team. We helped him with post-operative care which included bandaging his wound and providing advice about hygiene and wound care. Abdulrahmam received personalized rehabilitation care to strengthen his left arm and gain maximum independence with one hand. He took part in gait training—a type of physical therapy that can help improve a person’s ability to stand and walk. He also received a treatment known as “mirror therapy.”

What is mirror therapy?

“Mirror therapy is the use of a mirror to create the illusion of the presence of an affected limb in order to trick the brain into thinking movement has occurred without pain,” Ahmed, a physical therapist with Humanity & Inclusion explains. “It involves placing the affected limb behind a mirror so that the reflection of the opposing limb appears in place of the hidden limb. It aims to reduce phantom limb pain.”

All the support needed

"At the beginning, I was very scared and I did not know how I could live with only one arm,” Abdulrahmam says. “Then I met with the Humanity & Inclusion team, who reassured me and showed me that many people live a normal life with only one hand. I also benefitted from psychosocial support sessions. All of this helped me to gain strength again."

Back to life

Abdulrahmam continues his steady path to recovery and now has hopes for the future. "I want to go back to my children,” he adds. “The day of my amputation, my wife gave birth. I hope to see my son very soon. I gave him the same name as me. I feel like God sent my son to replace the loss of my arm."

Humanity & Inclusion and the Yemen crisis

Humanity & Inclusion (which operates under the name Handicap International in Yemen) operated in the country from the early 2000s up to 2012, focusing on physical rehabilitation. Since returning in 2014, our mission has grown. Today, we provide direct services to individuals affected by the ongoing conflict, particularly people with disabilities, through rehabilitation care and psychosocial support at eight public health facilities in and around Sana’a city. Learn more about our work and the Yemen crisis.