Hayat is a confident little eight year old girl. Her father wants her to be a doctor when she grows up, but she firmly tells him that she’d rather be a teacher. “Well if she wants to be a teacher I guess I’ll have to just hope that she’s a really good one,” he tells us, laughing.
Blackouts across Syria
Hayat was injured when she was in Syria. With war ravaging the country and its infrastructure, families in Syria often have to live without electricity. Hayat’s father did his best to get power for his family, and bought a battery that he could use to charge the power in the house.
“I can’t remember the injury,” Hayat tells us. But her parents vividly remember that night. Like many nights before, the electricity cut out. Hayat was very small at the time, and while her parents were talking, she crawled in the darkness and placed her hands on a cable – causing her to be badly electrocuted.
Searching for medical help
Her parents rushed her to the nearest hospital, where she was admitted for two days. But during war, the hospitals were so busy and had so many lives to save that Hayat’s injury just wasn’t a priority for them. After two days her parents decided that they would go to the nearest city to them to try and find help for her there.
By the time they got to the next hospital, the burns on her hand had caused her fingers to contract, meaning everyday tasks for the young girl would become a real struggle – including eating, writing, and holding things. Doctors at the hospital recommended that they would have to remove her finger. Her parents did not want this for their daughter.
“After I heard that from the doctors I decided we would come as a family to Lebanon,” her father told us. “There must be a doctor there that could save her finger.”
Coming to Lebanon
Once in Lebanon the family managed to find a small apartment to live in. Hayat lives with her three sisters (two of which are identical twins), brother and parents. “I can’t really provide my children with everything,” her father admits, “but at least we have a roof over our heads.”
Once in Lebanon, a friend of theirs from Syria recommended that they contact INARA. Their child, Mahmoud, was receiving treatment from INARA. We brought Hayat in straight away to meet with Dr Ghassan Abu Sittah, one of our doctors at the American University of Beirut Medical Center, and also a board member of INARA.
“When I saw Dr Abu Sittah at the first appointment and he informed me that Hayat’s surgery is easy, and that there was no need to cut her finger, I was so happy that I wanted to cry,” her father told us.
After checking an x-ray, Dr Abu Sittah informed the family that she would need a scar release surgery to free up movement of her finger. He would also install a metal wire into her finger to help to repair it. After a few months, Hayat’s movement would be fully restored and her hand would be as normal.
“A huge relief”
As we sit with Hayat and her two parents in the INARA offices, shortly after telling them that we would be able to cover the surgery, her father starts to cry with happiness. “It’s a huge relief,” he tells us. “I would like to say thank you for helping my child and other children in need.”
UNICEF contributed towards Hayat's treatment.