Akram’s mother, Samara, holds her tiny son in her arms as she sits in the INARA offices. She’s a lively and talkative woman who keeps cracking jokes, despite the fact that she has been through so much in her life as a Syrian refugee in Lebanon. She is strong and you can sense it as soon as you meet her.
“I wished that it were me and not him”
Akram was three months old when we first met him. Since we first started working with him in October 2017, he was grown so much. He’s now about to turn one, and is still a happy little baby.
“When they told me that my son had clubfoot, I was very sad and I cried,” Samara tells us. “I wished that it were my feet and not his that were deformed.”
Samara didn’t let this get her down. She is a practical woman and had saved up some money before her fifth child was born. The day after he was born she went back into hospital and started casting sessions for the young boy.
After two and a half months the casting sessions weren’t working. Samara used up all her savings. The hospital told her that Akram would need a surgery, but she had no money left. So she went into the Doctors Without Borders offices, and asked them to help. They gave her INARA’s number.
How we helped Akram
When Akram came in for his medical assessment with Dr Taha, we were informed that the previous casting sessions were not done properly. Instead of adjusting the angle of the calves, the doctors had adjusted the angle of the foot. This has had no positive benefits to Akram, and has cost his family a lot of money.
Akram came in for several casting sessions over two months. Since then he has been supplied with Dennis Brown shoes. He will now need to wear them until he is two or three years of age, rectifying his clubfoot and allowing him to lead a happier and healthier life.
Life for Samara
Samara came to Lebanon early on in the war with her female cousin. “Because of the bombings and the tanks marching into our town we had to leave,” she explains. She doesn’t go back to Syria or her hometown because it’s still a sight of huge amounts of violence and devastation. When we first met her in October, she told us that 13 members of her family had recently died in an airstrike. “Three of them were babies. It was tragic.”
Samara met her husband six years ago in Lebanon when they were working on a farm. She was 38 at the time. “He asked me to marry him and I said ‘no’. I had completely given up on men,” she says laughing loudly. “But after three months I started to love him and we got married.”
Her husband has back problems and was shot in the war in Syria, so Samara is the family’s main source of income. “We live in a small room with my cousin and his family,” she explains. “We all get along, but since Akram was born we’ve had to borrow money from them and haven’t been able to pay any of it back. We’re hoping we can pay it back soon so it doesn’t cause any tension.”
Now that Akram has got the right treatment they feel a lot happier. “Now I know that my son will be able to walk properly in the future and attend school as other children do,” she says with a huge smile on her face. She plants a kiss on Akram’s cheek and he giggles.
Akram's treatment has been funded by UNICEF.