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Hala -4 -stands-on-her-new-prosthetic-leg-with-support-from-an-HI-physical-therapist
Yemen

Balloons lift Hala up

Hala, 4, was playing in front of her home when she was hit by an explosion. Seriously wounded in the attack, she lost one of her legs. Hala, and her cousin Erada, are among the most recent victims of bombings that are devastating Yemen.

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Hala and Erada has just received emergency surgery when Humanity & Inclusion’s team met them at a hospital in Sana’a. The family, completely devastated by the attack, was able to access medicine and food from other patients at the hospital for the two cousins who were both in a state of shock. Erada was constantly wondering about the absence of her cousin’s leg and of her own. Hala was sad, frustrated, and deeply traumatized. She cried all the time. 

Humanity & Inclusion’s team provided Hala with psychosocial support and physical therapy care. Our team gave her a walker and crutches to help her stand. Hala’s family members were informed about the nursing and hygienic care related to an amputation. HI staff also provided them with vital training so they could take care of Hala on a daily basis.

Hala’s mother immediately understood the importance of rehabilitation exercises for a quick return to mobility. "At first, Hala couldn't walk," she explains. "However, the Humanity & Inclusion team immediately provided her with crutches and patiently made her do her exercises. They needed a lot of patience. And now she is just learning how to walk with her new prosthesis! She exhausted everyone during the process but she finally got back on her feet. She made a lot of progress."

A Humanity & Inclusion staff member explains that when the team first met Hala, she was very sad. “She almost always cried,” they explain. “She was afraid of people and even of other children. We accompanied her, then gradually included her in activities for children. She started interacting with others and talking with them, exchanging toys. After many months, we fit her with a prosthesis and are now teaching her how to use it correctly. At first, Hala refused to walk with it because she was afraid. But since she loves balloons, we found that if we covered the floor in balloons, she loved walking through them!”

Things are not easy for the young Hala. When she comes to the Sana'a Rehabilitation Center, she is very shy with others. She has difficulties expressing her emotions and is still very much affected by this tragedy. For example, she sometimes stares at other children and the way they move and tries to touch their legs.

But, one year after this tragedy, Hala, with all her victories, is gradually smiling again. And that's what matters most to her mother. "I thank the members of the HI team,” she says. “I really appreciate what they have done and continue to do for us. They transformed my daughter's life and help her to overcome all the difficulties and accept her disability.”

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.