Tala is 14 years old now. When we first met her in November 2016, she was very shy. She rarely spoke out, and tried to stay inside as much as possible so that people didn’t notice her eye.
“I used to have low self-confidence,” she tells us. Following her INARA surgery, her confidence has grown and she is able to lead a more independent life.
She fell onto a knife
When she describes what happens to her, she describes things in precise detail. Her mind paints a vivid story, filled with horror and emotion. “All of the buildings in the area where we lived were so close to each other. We were in a grocery shop; I remember the smell of fresh mint still. Suddenly there was a huge explosion and I felt my legs running fast underneath me, taking me far away from the noise.”
The debris and smell of burning surrounded her and she tripped, straight onto a sharp knife. It stabbed into her right eye. The moment Tala tells this part of her story, the narrative suddenly ends, and the descriptive details finish.
The family took her straight to the hospital near to their house to try and get their daughter treated. Doctors informed her that she would need to see a specialist on the other side of the country. So the family packed their belongings and resettled to where their daughter could get the help she needed.
She had a number of surgeries in this hospital. But just as things were beginning to look better for their daughter, war broke out in the region. Her parents feared for Tala and their other children and decided they would have to flee Syria entirely and make the treacherous journey across the mountains into Lebanon.
How we helped
Ever since the family came to Lebanon, Tala’s condition became worse. Our doctors at the American University of Beirut Medical Center (AUBMC) informed us that she has a traumatic leukoma on her eye and a cataract. It badly impaired her vision, and, if it wasn’t treated, her eyesight in her injured eye would continue to grow worse, perhaps even to the point of losing her sight in that eye completely.
Tala had her surgery in December 2016 and it was a success. She has been coming in every few months to track progress, and doctors informed us that the vision in her eye has improved by 85%.
“I used to have difficulty reading and writing,” Tala explains. “But now I’m able to read and write again.” We also provided her with glasses that she has to wear all the time.
Her mother has noticed that her daughter’s mood has really improved since having the surgery. “She used to be so concerned about people staring at her, and would become aggressive,” she tells us. “Now she isn’t angry, and can lead a normal life again.”
Tala is one of many Syrian refugee children in Lebanon that desperately needed help. Thanks to your donations, we were able to help her. But many more children are at risk of falling through the gaps in medical provision. Donate today to ensure we can help them.