Lulu Syrian refugee Kurdish INARA Arwa Damon

Lulu loves to write and draw. When we first met her this would often cause the six year old pain.

“She loves to write things,” her father explained. “She can’t do it anymore because it causes her pain. That’s really affected her mood. She’s been traumatized by this injury. Even simple things like eating have become a struggle for her.”

New Year’s Day

On New Year’s Day of 2016, Lulu’s mother prepared a meal for the family. As she boiled the yogurt for her daughter’s favourite meal, fatteh, Lulu fell over. She put her arm on the cooker to try to pull herself back up, but the cooker fell on top of her, causing the scalding yogurt to pour across her back and her right arm.

The family, sick with worry, rushed her to hospital in the area of Lebanon that they live in as refugees. However, after hours of waiting, doctors didn’t do anything for her. So they then took Lulu to a government hospital. They had no burns unit, so the family were forced to go to another hospital.

By the time they arrived at the third hospital, Lulu was exhausted from screaming, and her wounds had become infected. She spent two months in a hospital, paid for by a refugee agency. While there, doctors cut away the burnt skin and cleaned the wounds as best they could. However, her burns formed into hard scars that prevent Lulu from opening her right arm fully at her armpit.

Medical treatment for Lulu

When we met Lulu, we took her to INARA partner doctors at the American University of Beirut Medical Center (AUBMC). They recommended that Lulu would need to wear a garment to help her wounds heal. After that, she would need corrective surgery to fully free up her arm.

Up until February, she would wear her garment and it did have a positive impact on her ability to move her arm. Her INARA caseworker predicts her movement was improved by about 30%.

Resettlement in France

Her surgery was booked for the end of February. However, Lulu and her family received some good news before the surgery: they would be resettled in France, thanks to the International Organization for Migration.

Lulu didn’t attend school in Lebanon. Her father couldn’t afford to send her. All he wanted was to be able to educate her, but he was struggling to pay for the medical treatment needed for Lulu. In addition, both he and his wife were struggling with their health living in their mouldy and cramped apartment in a Palestinian refugee camp in the north of Lebanon.

On February 22, the family packed their belongings away and travelled to Beirut’s airport. They boarded their plane to France, filled with hopes and dreams for a happy future where their daughter could get a world-class education and achieve everything she wanted.

We wish them the best of luck and hope that Lulu will get the medical attention she needs in France.