“Before the accident Yara was a normal child who used to love to laugh and play with her cousins,” her family tell us. “But after she was burnt, she faced so many difficulties in holding things that she became frustrated. She’d show signs of aggression to her toys, throwing them around the room and punching them. But those days are behind us now…”
Coming to Lebanon as refugees
The family have lived as refugees in Lebanon since 2012. “We were receiving threats in the area that we lived,” Yara’s father Nader tells us. “I left by myself, hoping my family could stay and be ok. The war was new then and we didn’t know what to expect, or how violent it would end up becoming.”
But one day, their small village was bombed. “It was then that I decided that she could come and join me in Lebanon,” Nader explains.
The family live in a two-bedroom apartment, which they share with other family members. More than nine people live in this apartment. “It’s very difficult to provide appropriate living conditions for your family when you live in a place like Lebanon,” Nader says, sighing deeply as he says this.
The family house has no space for Yara to play. Where they live there are no parks for children and so the only place for her and the younger members of her family to play is just outside their home.
She was playing with her uncle, who is the same age as her. He pushed Yara and she fell into a motorcycle that was parked just outside their home where the children play. The engine was still hot and she fell right onto it, hands first.
“I was inside when I heard her screams of pain,” Nader tells us. They rushed her to the nearest pharmacy, unaware of how bad the burns were because Yara refused to open her hand. The pharmacist informed them that the injury was very severe, and told them to go to the Lebanese Red Cross.
For two weeks, the family would take Yara every single day to the Red Cross to get treatment.
The family were referred to INARA by the Red Cross as she needed a surgery to release the retraction of her fingers. The family couldn’t afford to pay for the treatment themselves, and so they knew they would need some help. We brought Yara in to meet our doctors at the American University of Beirut Medical Center (AUBMC). Doctors performed a simple scar release surgery on her fingers in October 2017.
After a few months of follow ups, doctors were keen to do another scar release surgery on her hands to ensure they restored full mobility to her hand. She had her surgery in August 2018.
Yara’s treatment has been a huge relief for the family whose two-year old daughter they have very high hopes for. They dream that she will be able to pursue her education and go to college. “We want her to be a successful woman in the future,” they say, beaming with pride as they look at her.
“The impact of the surgery on Yara’s life is that next year she’ll be able to attend school and hold a pencil in her hand and write, just like other children her age,” her grandfather told us when they came into our office for Yara’s final meeting. “This surgery means so much to us because it means that she can access education.”
UNICEF contributed towards Yara's treatment.