“Since she was injured, she has developed fear,” Amal’s mother tells us. She dabs a tissue against her eyes as the tears begin to well, and swallows her emotions with a gulp. “Whenever someone new is around she is always scared of them. My child used to be so docile but now she cries and screams all the time. She is in both fear and pain.”
Amal’s mother nervously plays with the ring on her finger as she explains the day that Amal was burnt where they live as refugees in Lebanon. “I was preparing dinner. I left the teapot in the room for one minute while I went to get bread. I came back into the room and saw Amal picking up the boiling hot teapot and pouring it over herself.”
Amal’s mother remembers clearly that this happened at 9pm. They went immediately to the hospital, but were turned away because they did not have enough money. It was only by 1am that they had finally found treatment in a hospital on the other side of Lebanon from where they live. The whole time Amal cried in pain.
Amal spent twenty days in the hospital, where the burns on her torso were treated. Her parents didn’t leave her side. “If we left her for one second, she would scream so loud that the whole hospital would hear us,” they say.
Life after the hospital
After she was discharged from the hospital, life was a struggle for the young girl. The burns on her torso are painful, and the burns on her armpit restrict her movement heavily.
The family were not sure that they would ever be able to afford treatment for her scars in Lebanon, and so began to look at humanitarian organizations in Lebanon that might be able to help. It was while they were speaking to the Union of Relief and Development Associations (URDA) that they were told about INARA and our work on providing life-altering medical treatment to refugee children.
They called and Amal was brought into the American University of Beirut Medical Center (AUBMC) for assessment. Amal will have a skin graft and scar release surgery on her arm to free up her mobility. She will also have CO2 laser and steroid injections on the scarring on her torso to attenuate the scarring, and ensure that the skin is more flexible for when she starts to grow. Her surgery has been booked in for early September.
New found hope
The news that Amal will get the treatment she needs has been a huge relief for her anxious parents, who have for months worried about their child’s future. “My biggest hope now is for her to go back to normal again. I want to see my happy smiley baby again.”
After everything she has been through, her parents hope that she uses this experience to help others in the future. “We both say that we want her to be a burns surgeon,” they say with a smile on their face.
UNICEF contributed to Amal's treatment.