“I was wearing my new clothes that day,” 14-year old Zayn tells us, his eyes wide as he recalls the day he was injured. Zayn was not only witness to a massacre, but also injured on that fateful day.
Zayn and his family had lived for months in a besieged area in Syria. One day, silence hung ominously over their neighborhood, and people were told that they would be evacuated. Everybody was shocked and confused after such a long time living under the near constant bombardment of bullets and bombs. The silence echoed in their ears. His mother felt hopeful, and told Zayn that he could finally wear his new outfit, one she had bought for her young son just before the siege began.
As the family crossed through the checkpoint, a sniper took aim at the people leaving the besieged neighborhood. Zayn was first shot in the arm and fell to the ground in pain. As he lay on the ground, another shot was fired into his hip. His father ran over and grabbed his young son, and found cover. All in all, 20 people were killed trying to leave the besieged area that day.
‘We were too tired to stay in Syria’
His parents rushed Zayn to the nearest hospital after the sniper eventually stopped shooting. The hospital was filled with injured people, and doctors couldn’t do much to help him. “We decided right there and then that we would come to Lebanon as refugees,” his mother told us. “We were too tired to stay in Syria. We were exhausted from months living through the siege. We just didn’t feel safe anymore.”
The family tried to cross the border but didn’t have passports and were refused. So they went back, and used all their savings to purchase passports for the entire family. Syrian passports cost approximately $400 each at that point, but the family knew that it was worth the money to ensure their safety.
The family currently live in an informal settlement in the mountains of Lebanon. They are crammed into a small tent that’s freezing cold in winter and boiling hot in the summer. Zayn misses Syria a lot. “I miss my friends,” he tells us mournfully. “We always used to play football in my grandpa’s backyard.”
“I can’t sleep at night because of my injury,” Zayn explains. “I have flashes of hot and cold pain.”
Zayn’s case was referred to INARA by UNICEF. We took him immediately to meet with our doctors at the American University of Beirut Medical Center (AUBMC), where they ran a number of tests to try to understand what was causing him this pain. Doctors found that the bullet in his arm had cut his nerves. This causes pressure on his muscles, which causes him this terrible pain. We will be funding a surgery to repair the nerves in his right arm, which will alleviate this pressure on his muscles and hopefully put an end to Zayn’s pain.
A happier and healthier future
Zayn’s parents are relieved that their son will get the treatment he needs. “I wish him a happy future that will compensate for all of the bad days he has experienced in the war,” his father tells us. Using your donations to ensure that he gets the treatment he needs won’t take away the horrors he has witnessed, but it will help to build a happier and healthier future for the child.
UNICEF are contributing towards Zayn's treatment.