When we first met eight-year old Sary earlier this year he was desperate to wear t-shirts again in the summer. The burn on his right arm, which prevented him from fully moving his elbow, was an embarrassment to the young boy.
The boy that we see before us in the INARA offices today is the total opposite of embarrassed or shy. He’s confident and has a unique dress sense that his mother tells us has become even more extravagant since he had his surgery. He wears red goggles, a denim shirt with a bow tie, and tells us that he wants to grow his hair long. “He wears what he wants now,” his mother tells us as she comes into the office.
“I was scared. The explosions were so loud”
Five years ago in Syria, early on in the war, Sary and his family were sat at home. They could hear gunfire nearby and so stayed inside. Sary’s mother Wafa tried to distract her children from the noise outside by talking to them and telling stories.
Out of the blue, there was a huge explosion. The war was still in its infancy at the time and so the family was not used to the noise of airstrikes. The ground underneath them shook and all Sary remembers is running away, absolutely petrified by the loud noise. “I was scared,” he tells us. “The explosions were so loud.”
He ran into the kitchen and knocked a hot boiling pot of tea off the stove. It landed on him - covering his face, chest and right arm in painful scars. The family had no choice but to wait for the fighting to pass before they could go out and find help for their son. The whole time Sary screamed in pain.
Once the fighting died down the family tried to get to the hospital. However, the fighting around them meant that they were stuck in their area with no access to nearby hospitals. The family didn’t know what to do so took him to a nearby pharmacy who did their best to help, providing Sary with ointments and bandages.
The family did their best to help their son, but by the time the family could finally get access to a hospital, his scars had hardened around his elbow, restricting his movement.
Getting out of Syria
Sary’s injury, and the family’s inability to get medical treatment when they needed it, forced his parents to reconsider staying in their home. Eventually they decided that they had no choice but to lock their door behind them for the last time, and search for safety elsewhere in Syria.
“We settled in two different areas in Syria before we knew we had to leave our country completely,” Wafa tells us. “The last area we were in had many attacks and my children were never safe. We had no other choice but to leave behind our country and the war that has taken over our lives.”
How INARA helped
Sary’s case was referred to INARA in December. We took him to meet with doctors at the American University of Beirut Medical Center (AUBMC) who informed us that he would need a surgery to release the scarring on his elbow. The operation took place in January and was a success, freeing up movement and ensuring that he has full functionality of his arm again.
“Before the surgery he was unable to bend his arm, and now he has a full range of movement,” his mother tells us with a smile on her face. “Thank God!”
Before he had his surgery, Sary told us how much it would mean to him to be able to move his arm again. “If I could move my arm properly again I don’t think I’d be ashamed of my injury anymore,” he said. "I will feel that I am similar to all the other children in my class. I’d be able to do all the activities that my friends and brothers do.” This is now the case – thanks to your donations.
Sary is an intelligent eight-year old. He is learning English and French at school and was more than happy to practice with INARA staff. “I’m fine, thank you for asking,” he replies to us when we ask him how he is in English.
He also has big dreams for his future. “I want to be a pilot so that I can make lots of money and buy a Ferrari he tells us.” His mother laughs when he says this, adding: “I wish nothing for the best for all of my family. I wish that our situation changes and that I will be able to help him and support him to achieve his dreams.”