Amjad Syrian refugee needs medical treatment Arwa Damon

Amjad’s family fled Syria four years ago. They live in a tent in the north of Lebanon, awaiting the day that they can, at long last, go back to their home country and begin to rebuild their lives. But right now, they wait in limbo.

The accident Amjad’s mother will never forget

Earlier this year, their day started like any other. Amjad’s mother, Hivine, explained that nothing was out of the ordinary. “The children were hungry so I decided to cook for the family. My children were in the tent, playing together. I was using the gas to cook. The gas fauset was stuck, and gas pumped out. My eldest child had a lighter in his hand and the next thing I knew, the tent was on fire.”

In that moment, Hivine doesn’t remember much. She explains to us how her instinct was to do anything she could to save her children inside the tent. “I ran in. Most of my children had managed to get out straight away, but Amjad was at the back. He was screaming. His legs were on fire. By the time I got to him, he had already fainted from the pain.”

The family rushed Amjad to the nearest hospital to them. His burns were so bad that they were told he would have to stay there for four months. Amjad’s father tells us that the doctors didn’t know what to do with Amjad, and just kept him medicated.

The accident not only physically scarred him, but mentally scarred him also. He was so shocked that he couldn’t speak for the entire four months he was in hospital. Even now, he’s a quiet child who barely whispers a word to his family.

His toes are fused together

When we took Amjad to doctors at the American University of Beirut Medical Center (AUBMC) they confirmed that the small boy didn’t receive the care that he needed at the hospital. His feet were bound together in bandages. Because of this, his toes have fused together.

Now he cannot walk; his balance is off and so he falls over often. In addition, the burns on his feet are still painful and sore. His parents lament that Amjad cannot play or run. “We hope that one day soon we can see Amjad smile again. We miss seeing him run about and playing with his siblings.”

INARA will be paying for a surgery to help free up his toes. Doctors have told us that he will not be able to walk for three weeks following the surgery, but afterwards, he’ll be able to lead a normal, active life, like the other children in the camp he lives in.

Looking for a better future

Amjad’s mother explains why they fled Syria and came to Lebanon. “My children couldn’t sleep at night. They were so scared that they would die in an airstrike.”

One night, the sky lit up with fire. They managed to escape their home before a bomb landed on it, destroying everything they owned. They had nothing. They were traumatised. They didn’t know what to do. They fled to a family member nearby, but knew that they had no choice but to leave their country, their family and friends, and try to seek a better existence in Lebanon.

It would be easy for this family to feel like life had turned its back on them. They have experienced nothing but sorrow since the Syrian War broke out. But when we meet with them, they seem hopeful again. They know that this surgery will help their son to lead a better life. “We are so grateful to the people who are donating to Amjad’s surgery. We wish them the health and happiness that they are gifting to us.”