Yazan INARA Syrian refugee Arwa Damon

The children in eight year old Yazan’s area have labelled him as ‘the boy with the burns’. He hates this and tries his best to hide the burns on his neck and jaw by wearing a polo-neck sweater. His mother tells us that he spends a lot of time by himself to avoid being bullied.

“I love school and I want to go back as soon as possible,” Yazan informs us. “But I want to fix this ugly burn first so that no one makes fun of me.”

The freezing cold

When we ask Yazan how he got these burns, he tells us that he only remembers the noise of his mother screaming for help. His mother, Rasha, expands on this, and tells us about the day when their lives changed forever.

It was freezing in Syria two years ago. Yazan’s mother could see her children shaking in the cold, with their breath visible in their cold, small apartment. She couldn’t watch her children suffer any longer, and so went out and bought some gas for the fireplace.

But sadly for Rasha and her family, the gas cannister had been filled with benzine because of fuel shortages due to the war, and the moment it was lit, it exploded. Yazan was closest to the cannister and was badly hurt in the fire. He has terrible burns on his neck and jaw, which restricts the mobility of his neck. He also has minor burns on his thighs and chest as well.

“I feel so guilty about Yazan’s injury,” Rasha tells us. “I should have known. I had heard rumours in the neighbourhood about bad gas mixtures. I should never have bought the gas.”

“He is worth this suffering”

Rasha took her son straight to the hospital in Syria. But hospitals in their area were inundated at the time with war injuries. So she travelled around the country, trying to find doctors and hospitals in different districts who could help. After a while they found a hospital who had the time to help - but she said that the surgery failed and Yazan’s mobility became even more restricted by his burns.

“I needed Yazan to get the help he needed but I could not find it in Syria. I decided I would have to go to Lebanon to try and find him the help he needed,” Rasha tells us. She left her husband and daughters behind in Syria and took Yazan to Lebanon, desperate to find him the medical treatment that would prevent him from living with this disability.

“Yazan and I are struggling here in Lebanon, but I will not leave to go back to Syria until he is better. He is worth this suffering.”

How INARA will help

Doctors at the American University of Beirut Medical Center (AUBMC) informed us that Yazan would need a scar revision surgery on his neck and lip. This simple procedure would mean that the mobility of his neck and mouth would be freed up.

This makes Rasha’s journey to Lebanon worth it. “I wish nothing but the best for all of my family. I’m so glad that, thanks to INARA, I can help my son and support him to chase his dreams.”

Yazan wants to be a doctor when he is older. “I want to help people and cure them of diseases like INARA is doing with me,” he tells us when we ask him.

Because of donations, we can help children like Yazan. We hope that the treatment provided for him at AUBMC will not only improve his mobility but give Yazan new confidence to go back to school and face his bullies. We hope that, once back at school, he can achieve his dreams of becoming a doctor, and helping those in need of medical support.