Ritaj can extend her arm again thanks to INARA’s support
Ritaj’s arm was stuck in a bent position after a frying pan fell over and spilled hot oil on her. INARA provided Ritaj with physiotherapy to help her open up her arm and regain mobility.
Living as refugees in Lebanon
Ritaj and her family are Syrian refugees in Lebanon. They fled to Beirut from ISIS controlled Raqqa.
"We suffered when we first came to Lebanon because we didn't have work or shelter. We didn't know anyone in Lebanon," says Mona. Ritaj's extended family, including her grandparents, aunts and uncles, remain living under ISIS control in Raqqa. "We were happier in Syria," says her mother. "We miss our country," she said, referring to the old days.
One day, they were in their small rented room in the suburbs of Beirut when Ritaj’s accident happened before her mother's eyes. The frying pan fell on Ritaj, and the oil severely burnt her left arm and splashed onto her face, leaving some small burn scars on her left cheek.
Ritaj's father rushed her to the paramedics but was told that Ritaj had to see a doctor. Ritaj was taken to a doctor for a month and half, who gave her an ointment and changed her dressings. But her arm could not move and was stuck in a bent position. She also couldn’t close her palm.
How INARA helped
Her parents struggled to find the money to pay for all of these treatments. “We used to worry a lot about the cost of treatment,” said Mona, Ritaj’s mother. “We had fell upon hard times. All of our efforts were focused on medications and doctor’s visits.”
Ritaj was referred to INARA by UNHCR. We connected Ritaj with Dr Amir Ibrahim at the American University of Beirut Medical Center (AUBMC), who prescribed one month’s intensive physiotherapy for her.
Ritaj went to Sawssan’s Get Well clinic three times a week. She was also given an elbow extension splint by the NGO Mousawat to improve her mobility.
Ritaj can now fully extend her arm, thanks to this treatment. Her mother describes how Ritaj’s life has changed a lot. “Ritaj is feeling better. She can sleep better, eat better, and is in a better mood. She’s happy to go to school and play with the other children. Before she would cry before going to school and ask to leave.”
When we first met the family, Ritaj’s mother was anxious about how she would find the money to pay for her daughter’s school fees. Thanks to INARA, this worry was taken off the family - with medical treatments and transportation to and fro appointments covered, the family could focus their money on ensuring Ritaj can go to school and learn.
Ritaj says she is enjoying school and is having fun with the activities in the classroom. "They let us watch Tom and Jerry!" she tells us excitedly. Ritaj especially likes colouring and drawing, gifting the INARA team with many unique masterpieces.