16 year old Ibrahim is a hero to his mother. Five years ago, early on in the Syrian war, he heard a huge bang. The ground underneath him shook. An airstrike had landed nearby in his neighborhood. Instinctively he jumped out of bed, aged just 11 at the time, and ran to go and save people who may have been hurt.

He joined a small group of neighbors lifting heavy bits of rubble in an attempt to find those who may have been trapped underneath. His mother watched from the side, proud that her son was doing so much to help. But she was filled with dread at how close the airstrike was to their home, concerned that next time it would be their home destroyed.

The pain

The next day, Ibrahim started to have pain in his groin. The pain became completely unbearable as the days passed.

His mother took him to doctors and he was informed that he had a hernia where he was feeling pain. But shortly before he was scheduled to have his treatment at a hospital in Syria, their home was partially destroyed in an airstrike.

“A strike hit the house and I immediately left,” his mother tells us. “It was a fast reaction but I know that it was the right decision for us. The situation had become so bad in Syria and I couldn’t live with the constant worry that I might lose my only son.”

His mother left behind her home and her job. For Ibrahim, it meant that he had to leave the school that he attended, where he was getting fantastic grades and had very close friends. Once in Lebanon, the family lived off savings - but they soon ran out. Paying for an operation on Ibrahim’s hernia was far too expensive, and so he had to bear the agonizing pain every single day.

Five years later and he finally gets the treatment he needed

It took five years for Ibrahim to get the treatment that he needed. He was referred to INARA by Himaya, and as soon as we met him we introduced him to our doctors at the American University of Beirut Medical Center (AUBMC). They informed us that his hernia could have led to further problems in his intestines and bowels if it were not operated on.

We booked him in for a simple repair surgery in February 2017. The procedure went well and it took Ibrahim only a few months to heal.

How life will change for Ibrahim

Ibrahim dropped out of the school in Lebanon that he enrolled in. Other students bullied him because of his limp - a cause of the hernia. He said he wants to go back to school, but not in Lebanon.

At the moment he works as a carpenter, which helps him and his mother survive financially. Previously the physical nature of this work was a real struggle and he would come home exhausted and in a lot of pain. Now this is not the case thanks to the surgery your donations helped to pay for.

“I can do everything now,” Ibrahim tells us with a big grin on his face. “I’ll be able to live my life normally again.”

His mother is still trying to persuade him to go to school. “I wish for him to become an engineer or a doctor,” she informs us. “In Syria he was an A-grade student. But he wasn’t coping very well in Lebanon and I can’t financially support him like I could back in Syria.”

We hope that one day Ibrahim will find the confidence to go back to school. He won’t have to worry about people laughing at him because he no longer limps because of the pain. His mother hopes for the same for his future.

UNICEF contributed to Ibrahim's treatment.