INARA Hala Arwa Damon CNN

Hala is an assertive seven year old. When she walks into the INARA offices, she immediately looks up at our caseworker Mariam, and asks her if she would play with her. She has a lot of confidence, and the traumatic experiences that she has been through have not knocked that out of her.

The accident that changed Hala’s life

Four years ago, when living in a tent in Idlib, rockets began to fall around Hala and her family. Her mother and father grabbed their children, sick to the stomach with fear and worry. In the panic, confusion and chaos, Hala knocked over a boiling pot of water in their tent, all over her upper body.

Hala’s mother will never forget the agonising screams that she heard coming from her daughter’s mouth all those years ago.

Her burns have meant that her underarms have webs of scar tissue that are restricting her ability to move her arms. With surgery, Hala would be able to move her arms freely, and achieve all the things that she wants to achieve in life.

Hala doesn’t go to school

Hala tries to not let it bother her. But despite that, she stands out from the other children where she lives in Tyre in Lebanon.

On the way into school one day, a child began to bully Hala for her scarring. It resulted in the child hitting her. She was upset by this experience and her mother, worried about the welfare of her child, took her out of school.

Hala misses school. She loves to draw. At school she was given a pack of colouring pencils, and her mother laughs as she tells us how she would sit for hours drawing pictures of her and her family, their home in Syria, and whatever else popped into her mind. But she’s used up the colouring pencils and wants to go back. Her mother promises us that she will make sure Hala goes back once she is better.

How we can help

Hala INARA Arwa Damon

We’ve matched Hala to doctors at the American University of Beirut Medical Center. On her first appointment, Hala’s mother was worried that Hala might be nervous about going to see the doctor. However, when INARA board member Dr Ghassan Abu Sitta called Hala in, she confidently strode in and closed the door behind her, assuring her mother that she was happy to be seen alone.

Dr Ghassan and his team will be giving her scar revision surgery to release the contracted skin on her underarms. This will give her much more mobility in her arms.

After the appointment, Hala came back the INARA offices. She drew us picture, after picture, after picture, whilst wearing a plastic purple tiara on her head. As she was about to leave she asked if she could take one of the teddy bears that we have here for children to play with. Of course we said yes!