Six year old Louay hides his hand from everyone by wearing long sleeves. Children at school call him names because of the injury on his hand, and his mother tells us that the young boy is losing his confidence as a result. The family were forced to flee Syria before Louay could complete the treatment he needed – leaving his hand disfigured, and mobility badly restricted.
The meat grinder
Louay was just two years old when he was injured. The family lived in Syria at the time. When his mother was out of the kitchen, Louay wandered in and saw the meat grinder that the family used to mince meat. He put his right hand into it, not knowing how dangerous it was. Three of his fingers were badly crushed.
His family rushed him to the nearest hospital, where he had an urgent surgery to save the nerves and preserve his fingers’ functionality. As he has grown older, his fingers have become bent, and he struggles to hold things. “Children in the area call him ‘freak’,” his mother tells us.
Before Louay could have the second surgery needed to fix his hand, his family had to flee Syria. They were worried about their safety, with violence all around them, and so made the long and treacherous journey to Lebanon.
Life in Lebanon
Louay lives with his three siblings and parents in the mountains in Lebanon. He adores his baby sister the most, he tells us with a smile on his face. His father recently bought him a scooter with the little money they have, and Louay loves to ride it around the roof of their building.
He is going to school and his favorite lesson is English. He dreams of one day becoming an English teacher. “I like the way the language sounds,” he explains to us, as he practices with his caseworker. His parents are very involved in his education, because they want him to be able to escape the poverty that they live in as refugees in Lebanon. They also fear that, because of the injury of his hand, and the bullying at school, he might fall behind, and they are adamant that this doesn’t happen.
Louay was referred to us by his teacher at school. She reached out to INARA staff over LinkedIn, and we booked an appointment for him at the American University of Beirut Medical Center (AUBMC). After an x-ray, Dr Amir Ibrahim explained that medical intervention could restore some of the functionality to his hands. However, the doctor did warn that the injury is so severe that they will not be able to restore full functionality, but there will be considerable improvement that will make Louay’s life a lot easier.
Doctors will install wires into his fingers to straighten them. They will be left in for two weeks and then taken out.
The family have been extremely appreciative of INARA’s help for Louay. “The world today needs more people who help others, rather than destroy things,” his father said at the end of his first meeting with INARA. The family have been through the horrors of war and seen the worst of humanity. For them to be supported, and looked after, all thanks to the kindness and generosity of strangers, has been a reminder that the world isn’t such a dark place after all.
UNICEF contributed towards Louay's treatment.