It was during Ramadan in 2013 that Sarah was injured. This is meant to be a time of peace for Muslims across the world, but for those living in Syria, bullets and bombs rain down on them even during Ramadan.
“There was crossfire next to our house,” Sarah’s mother said. “Armed men came into our house and searched it. The children were so scared. We didn’t know what was happening. They left after a few minutes, and then 30 minutes later the entire area was bombed.”
Sarah has burns on her face, chest, and arm; and her face was punctured by shrapnel, badly damaging one of her eyes, and also her jaw. Her family rushed her to the hospital in Syria, but doctors at the time were so busy that they couldn’t see Sarah - there were too many people with worse injuries.
Ever since, Sarah’s life has been a struggle. Her eyelids have fused together – meaning she cannot see out of her eye. It causes a lot of irritation for her and pain. Also, the scarring on her left arm heavily restricts her mobility; and similarly the scarring on her face makes smiling and eating difficult.
Her family came to Lebanon in 2017. “We are suffering just as much here as we were in Syria,” her mother explains. “It’s so hard to find a job, and everything is much more expensive in Lebanon.”
Late last year, the Union of Relief and Development Associations (URDA) informed the family about INARA. We brought Sarah in to meet our doctors at the American University of Beirut Medical Center (AUBMC) and they recommended a number of different medical procedures for her. She will need several scar releases on her face and left arm – which will be done in one surgery. She will also need to be fitted with dental implants, as her jaw was badly injured by shrapnel. She will also have a surgery to cut the eyelid that is fused together.
“She looks in the mirror and tells me that she isn’t pretty.”
Sarah has suffered so much, and it has really impacted her confidence. Aged 13, she has become increasingly introverted, and her mother worries about her all the time. But Sarah has a strong friendship group at her school. “They help her through these difficult times,” her mother tells us.
She feels strongly that these surgeries will really build Sarah’s confidence again. With such a strong support network, we really do hope that Sarah can look in the mirror and see the beautiful young girl that she is.