Often when children step into our offices for the first time they’re nervous and scared. They tend to be shy and fearful of strangers - most likely because of what they have been through in the horrors of war. Not all children are directly injured by weapons of war, and many of these pictures are from children who have been injured from living as refugees. The younger children many times cling to their parents when they meet their caseworker, or hide behind them.
One of the things we do to calm their anxiety is to hand them over a pen and paper and encourage them to draw a picture. It’s amazing how much calmer a lot of the children become when they concentrate on drawing.
In this blog, we wanted to show you some of the pictures we’ve been gifted by children on their INARA journeys.
Sara’s very young, but her drawing looks like a dragonfly, or maybe a bird flying towards the sun. Sara was injured when boiling water fell on her arm. There was a large risk that she would have permanent joint damage if INARA didn’t operate. We paid for her operation, and now Sara is able to move about freely and happily like other children. Her mother told us: “What you did for us, I used to dream of…”
Rana clearly has a bright future as an artist, with this colorful creation. Rana is one of the quietest and shyest children that we have met. She barely speaks. But hidden between her shy exterior is clearly a creative and bright young personality - as we can see in this self portrait.
Rana was injured when rockets landed on her village. In the chaos and confusion, she knocked over a boiling vat of water onto her arms and chest. We paid for a surgery to free up the skin on her chest, and detach the flesh around her armpit which was restricting her movement.
One of the things we see time and time again is children drawing houses and homes. It might be because that’s the thing they miss or the most - a secure place where they can feel safe from the world.
Khaled drew this grand home for us when we first met him. Khaled’s arm was burnt when he fell into a boiling pot. His right was stuck in a bent position - and as he drew this picture he told us that it hurt him after a while. Thanks to surgery funded by our incredible donors Khaled can now draw to his heart’s content without being in pain.
Lulu is another child who drew a house for us. The sun shines brightly down over this picturesque house that she lives in. Everyone around her home is happy, and there are flowers blooming in her lush garden.
Lulu is one of her newest cases. She hasn’t yet received the corrective surgery she needs to free up her right arm, after boiling yogurt fell on her.
Ritaj’s drawing is a little bit more surrealist. It’s something she drew after her surgery as a thank you to the INARA staff. We particularly love the use of the cat stickers, which we feel gives a real edge to it.
Ritaj’s family lived in ISIS controlled Raqqa. They managed to flee to Lebanon as refugees. However, one day, boiling oil fell on Ritaj and burnt her arm. It prevented her from doing the two things she most loved in the world: drawing, and going to school.
We said goodbye to Ritaj a few months back after her surgery was a huge success. She’s now back at school and drawing again. Every now and again, we are still gifted with a masterpiece like the above.