“Half of my friends died. The other half fled the country and I haven’t seen them since,” Ouday tells us solemnly. He is a sensitive 16-year old who dreams of becoming a famous singer one day. Since he arrived in Lebanon as a refugee, he feels very alone. “In Syria I had friends. I used to go to school. I had lots of hobbies. Here in Lebanon the maximum I do is hang out on the streets…”
The tea pot
A few years ago in Syria, Ouday was sleeping next to the fireplace to keep warm. His mother placed a teapot of hot tea on the shelf above the fireplace for a moment, while she went back into the kitchen to bring some food.
Suddenly the house shook from the impact of a nearby airstrike. His mother could hear Ouday’s screams from the kitchen as the boiling teapot fell on him, covering his neck in scorching hot liquid.
The family took him to the nearest doctor, who treated the burn as best he could, given the shortage of medical supplies in Syria due to the war. But the burn got swollen and infected when they returned home - and so the family went to a hospital. In this hospital Ouday had his first scar revision surgery.
Despite this surgery, the burns on Ouday’s neck lock his head in position and as a result he can barely move his neck. Ouday is very conscious of the burns. “I can’t even take my top off,” he informs us.
Shortly after he was discharged from the hospital, the war began to escalate in violence. They were worried about their safety, and decided that they should flee Syria and come to Lebanon. Ouday misses Syria every single day. “Syria is like heaven to him,” his younger sister tells us.
How INARA can help
Doctors at the American University of Beirut Medical Center (AUBMC) examined Ouday’s neck and told us that he would need a scar revision surgery to release the contraction on his neck. His surgery has been booked for early April. We could only do this because people donated to help the refugee children from Syria that we work with.
Ouday stopped going to school when he and his family left Syria. We’re urging him to go back, but his father broke his hip recently and the family are struggling financially to pay for their rent. His mother tells us that Ouday is taking on responsibility for the whole family while his father’s leg heals.
His mother said that ever since Ouday found out that INARA would pay for his surgery his mood has improved immensely. His sister tells us that once he found out, she noticed that he’d been uploading new selfies of himself to WhatsApp and Facebook for the first time since he was injured. The whole family laugh together, obviously relieved to see Ouday’s mood improve.
“Ouday is a decent boy,” she says smiling warmly at him. “I’m not just saying that because I’m his mother, he is a genuinely lovely person. He’ll be better emotionally after this, I’m sure of it.”