Mahmoud’s mother used to wish that he could return to the way he was before he was burnt in Syria. After treatment with INARA, she has seen such an improvement in her son that she no longer wishes this. “When Mahmoud saw he was getting better, he felt relieved,” she tells us. “I don’t have to worry about his future anymore.”
Mahmoud is now eight years old. He lives as a refugee in Lebanon. Four years ago, he lived with his family in a city in Syria. The war was a constant in their lives. Every day they would hear the noise of bombs exploding and bullets being fired. They would hear people in the street crying, mourning the dead. They would hear the long silences between explosions, fearing that the next one would be the one that landed on their home.
Food was a scarcity in their city, which was caught between two warring sides. One day Mahmoud’s mother managed to find milk and she was excited that she could treat her children. She came home and boiled the milk in the kitchen. Her children skipped around her, happy to get such a treat.
Suddenly their joy was destroyed with the low rumble of fighter jets overhead. Their house shook and smoke poured in through the windows as a rocket landed right next to their house. Mahmoud, who was only three at the time, screamed and ran into the kitchen to find his mother. In the smoke and chaos, he slipped and fell, knocking the boiling milk over himself.
Finding help in Syria
As soon as the fighting died down around them, Mahmoud’s mother took her injured son to the nearest field hospital. It was a treacherous journey, but his mother knew she had to risk their lives to ensure her son could get the medical help he needed. However the field hospital was full of wounded people from the recent bombings, and Mahmoud’s case was not as severe as the many people who were fighting for their lives there. They advised his parents to take him to another hospital in another city.
So the family travelled to a nearby city to seek out medical help. When they got there, doctors informed the family that Mahmoud’s burns were so severe that he would have to stay in the hospital for a long period.
Coming to Lebanon
Shortly after Mahmoud was discharged from hospital in Syria the family decided to flee their country and come to Lebanon as refugees. Their home city in the two years they had been away had been completely destroyed, and they had nothing to go back to. Where they had been staying near the hospital was also the sight of a lot of violence. “I knew that if I wanted my children to live I would have to get out of Syria,” his mother explains as she strokes her son’s face protectively.
Although Mahmoud was treated in Syria, skin retractions on his left arm made it impossible for him to extend his arm. The family sought out medical help in Lebanon, but nothing seemed to work. Eventually they were told by UNHCR to contact INARA, and told that we may be able to help Mahmoud.
As soon as the family contacted us, we brought him in to meet our team of doctors at the American University of Beirut Medical Center (AUBMC). Dr Amir Ibrahim performed a scar revision and skin graft surgery to release the contracted skin on his elbow. He noticed that mobility was also restricted on the child’s wrist, so during his surgery doctors dealt with that.
Hope for the future
Finding INARA has been a huge blessing for Mahmoud’s family, who feared that their son would live forever impaired by his injury. “Mahmoud has been traumatized by his injury but we now have hope again that he can lead a normal life.”
Mahmoud is back at school after his surgery. “We want him to grow up to be the best man he can be,” his father tells us with a proud smile on his face.
UNICEF contributed to Mahmoud's treatment.