Hadi is just a few months old and his parents love him very much. They think of him as a blessing from God. “It was just this winter that we decided we would have to leave Syria and come to Lebanon as refugees. It was a frightening and dangerous journey, and we are all so lucky to be alive.”
Hadi was born with clubfoot on his left foot and respiratory problems. After hours in labor, his mother couldn’t even cradle her newborn son as doctors rushed him away to an emergency ward. She was told that there was a high chance that her son wouldn’t survive his first day on this earth. However, Hadi is a fighter.
On the day that he was rushed away, doctors also diagnosed Hadi with unilateral clubfoot. At the time his parents were too concerned that their child wouldn’t survive to see a new day. It was only after a month of Hadi fighting his respiratory problems and being given a clean bill of health by doctors that they began to worry about what this clubfoot would mean for their tiny son.
They then began to search for people who could help them. The family had used up all their savings trying to ensure that their son beat his life-threatening respiratory problems – and now they were worried about whether they would be able to deal with this orthopedic deformity.
Luckily for them, they contacted Medecins Sans Frontieres, who heard about INARA’s newly launched orthopedic project. They put Hadi’s parents in touch with us, and we welcomed Hadi to meet our doctors at the American University of Beirut Medical Center (AUBMC).
Doctors examined Hadi’s clubfoot and informed us that he would need five to eight casts, changed weekly, over the coming weeks. After that, doctors would be able to see whether or not Hadi would need a surgery on his Achilles. After the casting (and potential surgery) Hadi would be given a Dennis Brown brace until he is three or four years of age.
The family’s journey out of Syria
Hadi and his family haven’t been in Lebanon very long. His mother was pregnant when they made the decision to leave Syria. “We decided we had to leave when five big rockets completely destroyed a large part of our village. It was frightening and I was pregnant with Hadi. I couldn’t bring another child into such a violent and bloody world.”
Their journey was long and terrifying. “We were smuggled beyond several checkpoints to get out of our village. At this point we walked for four days to get to Damascus. We were so afraid and tired. We had heard that there were smugglers on the road and I was so afraid that someone would kidnap my children...”
Eventually the family arrived safely across the border into Lebanon, where they have struggled to find work or money to survive. “We are a family of nine, crammed into one small room. It’s cramped but at least we know we’re safe here,” Hadi’s father adds.
INARA’s new project
INARA was created to respond to gaps in medical provision for refugee children. One such gap we identified in Lebanon was the treatment of orthopedic deformities such as clubfoot (as seen with Hadi and our other case Jad) and developmental dislocation of the hip.
In Syria, these children would have been able to get this treatment for free or at hugely discounted costs. In Lebanon, this is not the case. Our new project will ensure that these children do not fall through the gaps in medical provision.
If Hadi’s story touched you at all, you can do something amazing by donating now. Or, alternatively, we’re always looking for people to donate monthly – enabling us to plan ahead to help even more refugee children from Syria who desperately need medical help.