In early 2013, 15 year old Alaa's jaw was blown off when she was caught in the crossfire as rebel forces launched an attack on a government checkpoint.
She was with her younger sister, brother and mother going to Alaa’s grandmother’s house for lunch when suddenly, gunfire came at them from all directions.
“All I was thinking about was my mother and brother, I could see my sister bleeding next to me, she was talking to me, she was screaming, she was saying she was dead, she was reciting phrases from the Quran in a loud voice.” Alaa remembers that she couldn’t understand why she was unable to respond or talk.
Shot in the jaw
Alaa had been shot in the jaw where her tongue split in two, three times in the chest and a bullet to the thumb.
The hospital in Syria only put a flap of skin in place where her jaw used to be. Her confidence was shattered and she didn’t dare look at herself in the mirror. Once, when she accidentally caught her reflection in the mirror - she couldn’t stop crying.
How we helped
In Lebanon, Dr Ghassan Abu Sittah at the American University of Beirut Medical Centre (AUBMC), rebuilt her entire jaw. He removed part of her hip and implanted it into her lower jaw, a procedure that took 8 hours in total. A few months later he performed another surgery to loosen her lower lip from her gum.
Whilst Alaa is slowly regaining her smile, there are still complications to her case. She suffers from all over body swelling which leaves her in severe pain and is also in need of tooth implants.
This is where INARA comes in; working closely with Alaa and AUBMC to organise the crucial medical tests needed to treat the swelling. Additionally, INARA approached Prodent who provided the dental implants (preceding tooth implants) for free and connected Alaa to Dr Tawil at the Beirut Dental Specialists Clinic who performed the dental implant surgery on a pro bono basis.
We still need to raise funds to pay for these tests and the tooth implants themselves, and we're working hard to secure the money. With your donations your can help move us towards this goal.
Update (October 2, 2015)
Alaa has started an internship in nursing with a local clinic and says "I am very happy with this internship now because this has always been my dream job." She went in for an appointment this week for tooth implants and says: "I have been suffering for so long, and it's still painful, but I now have hope and strength to bear the pain."
Alaa dreams of becoming a nurse and with INARA’s assistance, we hope to provide her with the confidence to fulfill this.
Update (August 10, 2016)
Alaa was admitted for a scar revision surgery to improve her ability to move her mouth. Until this point she had some difficulties eating and speaking. The surgery was a success and Alaa is doing well.