In 2012, when a bomb caused her home in Syria to catch on fire, 12-year-old Nour suffered burns on her lower abdomen, including her genitals. The burns were so severe and painful they inhibited her ability to urinate.
A year later as a refugee in Lebanon, boiling water was mistakenly spilled on her in the camp where she suffered further wounds that exacerbated her condition.
INARA is not disclosing her full identity due to the potential stigma associated with the injuries she sustained.
A severe case
Although Nour spent three months in a hospital in Syria after the first injury, the hospital had minimal capacity to treat a case as severe as hers. Nour’s mother, Rana, tried to give her kidney or any other organ in exchange for Nour’s surgery because the family could not afford her surgeries.
In the hope of finding additional treatment and to escape the worsening situation in Syria, her family decided to flee to Lebanon in late 2012.
During their stay in eastern Lebanon, numerous NGOs visited, conducted interviews and made promises of treatment to Nour. However, no real action was taken.
"Nour used to be a happy child who loved to dance and sing," says her mother Rana, proudly showing us videos on her phone of Nour dancing to a Jordanian pop song.
“After the accident, she started blaming the family for her misery and for not rescuing her when the house caught on fire.” Rana regrets that, despite the family’s efforts to rescue Nour, it was too late. The entire family sustained burns. Rana has ten children, of which Nour is the seventh child.
How she was helped
When the second burn accident happened, Nour was brought to the Tahaddi Health Centre in Beirut for medical support. Tahaddi Lebanon, a small local non-profit organisation, then got to know the family.
Realizing that Nour required extensive surgery for both burns, Tahaddi approached Dr Abu Sittah – an INARA doctor - at the American University of Beirut Medical Center (AUBMC) who offered to take on Nour’s case. What was lacking was the funding.
Tahaddi requested a partnership with INARA because of its special rates and relationship with AUBMC. INARA in turn offered to pay for the entirety of the treatment. INARA’s case worker also worked alongside Tahaddi ensuring Nour received extra support and attention.
Nour just had the surgery she so badly needed, restoring her ability to go to the bathroom properly. Dr Abu Sittah also kindly removed a burn scar on her face giving Nour the confidence to face the world.
With INARA’s support and partnership with Tahaddi, Nour is looking forward to no longer being stigmatised as the "girl who was burnt," and may go back to school.
"I will be happier when I do the next surgery and the scar is completely removed from my face. I won't go back to school before I do the second surgery and I am fully recovered."
Update (August 13, 2015)
Yesterday for the first time in three years, Nour was able to go to the bathroom on her own. Nour's mother says, "We were surprised by her fast recovery and achievement. Slowly, she is regaining her self-confidence."
Nour is well on the road to recovery, and goes to the hospital every week to change the dressing on her wounds. A heartfelt thanks to all who made this possible! INARA is following up to ensure that Nour has the psychological support she needs.
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UNICEF contributed to Nour's treatment.