Young Syrian refugee Abdelkader is a huge ball of energy. Throughout his first meeting with his INARA caseworker he tells jokes and talks constantly. “Even though his accident was bad it hasn’t changed him,” his mother tells us proudly. “He won’t let it stop him doing anything.”
When Abdelkader overhears this, he shouts “I can do anything I want to,” making everyone in the office laugh. He then quickly changes the subject and tells us that his favorite colors are yellow and red.
The injury on his neck
The family have lived as refugees in Lebanon for the past three and a half years. They live in a small house that doesn’t have a kitchen. It makes their lives very difficult. The family cook food using a lamp cooker – an item that many Syrians use when going on camping trips.
One day his brother was trying to fix the lamp cooker, which accidentally started a fire that they were unable to control. Abdelkader’s neck was badly burnt in the fire.
His family took him straight to a hospital close to them, where he was admitted for 22 days. UNHCR covered most of the medical costs, with the rest being paid for by the family. However, a few weeks after he was discharged, he developed an infection that badly affected him. The family had to re-admit him into hospital.
After so much medical treatment, the family were running extremely low on money. They had spent everything on ensuring their son got better, and yet despite this, the scars on his neck still restrict his mobility.
Despite everything that he has been through, Abdelkader is still a cheerful young boy. He is extremely imaginative, and loves to use his mother’s phone to take photographs. “I like to take photos of everything,” he says with a giggle.
“Even though he’s the same mentally, and still as cheerful as ever, we’ve noticed we really spoil him now,” his mother tells us. Seeing their son in so much pain has clearly scarred his mother. “We came to Lebanon looking for safety, and yet this happened to us…”
Referred to INARA
Terre des Hommes put Abdelkader’s mother in touch with INARA when they noticed that the young boy struggled to move his neck. His mother called INARA, who booked him in for an appointment with our doctors at the American University of Beirut Medical Center (AUBMC).
Our doctors explained that Abdelkader has bilateral axillary and neck burn scars, and that he would need a skin release surgery to restore full mobility to his neck. However, his mother was very worried about this and needed some time to think about whether or not she wanted her son to go through this.
After we gave her a few days to think about it, and went through the surgery again and explained any potential risks, Abdelkader’s mother agreed to book in the operation. The surgery has now been booked in for some time in mid-August.
Abdelkader’s spirit is strong, and despite all the hardships he has been through as an injured refugee in Lebanon, he still is a happy young child. Many of the children we work with, though, have really suffered as a result of the trauma of being injured. To help Abdelkader and the many other refugee children that we work with, you can donate to INARA below.
UNICEF contributed to Abdelkader's treatment.