“In Syria we had a house and had money,” Anwar’s father explains to us. His son sits quietly by his side, barely looking up. Instead he stares down at the floor. “If someone needed a doctor we could send them to see a doctor. Life was comfortable. After the war started, we fled and moved to Lebanon as our area was completely destroyed. If one of my children gets sick here there is no way that we could afford to send them to see a doctor. It’s very expensive here.”
Anwar’s father is unemployed. “I’m far too old to work a physical job,” he elaborates. “There are only physical jobs available for Syrians here in Lebanon.” As a result, the family struggle to cover the costs of day to day life.
The two accidents
Anwar, who recently turned 18, started working in Lebanon in order to support his family. He worked in a garage fixing cars. One day, for some reason unbeknownst to Anwar, one of the cars caught fire, and he was badly burnt in the process.
His family used all their money to send him to hospital in Lebanon. He stayed there for one month, but as the family’s funds ran dry, they were forced to discharge him much earlier than needed.
Anwar spent the next few months unable to work, and recovered at home. One day, he went out for a walk to try and clear his mind. As he was walking in the street, a car hit him. The driver didn’t stop to help him, instead steering off. When people found him in the street, they called an ambulance. As a result of this horrible accident, Anwar’s leg had to be amputated.
“He has been traumatized by these two accidents,” his father explained. Daily life is a struggle for Anwar. The burns on his body restrict his movement – particularly his neck and right arm.
How we can help
Anwar’s case was referred to us by UNHCR last year. We initially took him to meet Dr Ghassan Abu Sittah at the American University of Beirut Medical Center (AUBMC). He instructed that the first stage on his medical plan would be finding prosthetics for his leg.
We contacted the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) who helped to arrange for this. After a few months this was fitted, enabling Anwar to move a lot easier. Once he had got used to his prosthetic leg, we brought him back to AUBMC for the second stage of his treatment.
Dr Abu Sittah recommended two scar revision surgeries – one for Anwar’s neck and the other for his right arm. This would restore full movement for the teenager. The doctor combined both procedures into one, and Anwar successfully went through this procedure at the end of August. He is now focusing on resting – and will soon be coming in for a follow-up appointment.
Anwar’s father is so relieved to see his son get the support he needs. “These two accidents really traumatized him,” he laments. “But knowing that people out there have been kind enough to donate to help him has helped us as a family.”