Akram’s mother, Samara, holds her tiny son in her arms as she sits in the INARA offices. She’s a lively and talkative woman who keeps cracking jokes, despite the fact that she has been through so much in her life as a Syrian refugee in Lebanon. She is strong and you can sense it as soon as you meet her.
“I wish that it were me and not him”
Akram was born three months ago in a hospital in Lebanon. He was born with clubfoot on both of his feet. “When they told me I was very sad and I cried,” Samara tells us. “I wish that it were my feet and not his that were deformed.”
Samara didn’t let this get her down. She is a practical woman and had saved up some money before her fifth child was born. The day after he was born she went back into hospital and started casting sessions for the young boy.
After two and a half months the casting sessions weren’t working. Samara used up all her savings. The hospital told her that Akram would need a surgery, but she had no money left. So she went into the Doctors Without Borders offices, and asked them to help. They gave her INARA’s number.
How we will help Akram
When Akram came in for his medical assessment with Dr Taha, we were informed that the previous casting sessions were not done properly. Instead of adjusting the angle of the calves, the doctors had adjusted the angle of the foot. This has had no positive benefits to Akram, and has cost his family a lot of money.
Dr Taha explained that Akram will need several casting sessions over the next six to eight weeks. Thereafter, he will be supplied with Dennis Brown shoes until he is two or three years of age. This should rectify Akram’s clubfoot and allow him to lead a happier and healthier life.
Life for Samara
Samara came to Lebanon early on in the war with her female cousin. “Because of the bombings and the tanks marching into our town we had to leave,” she explains. She doesn’t go back to Syria or her hometown because it’s still a sight of huge amounts of violence and devastation. “Just two weeks ago, 13 members of my family died in an airstrike. Three of them were babies. It was tragic.”
Samara quickly changes the subject onto how she and her husband met. Samara met him six years ago in Lebanon when they were working on a farm. She was 38 at the time. “He asked me to marry him and I said ‘no’. I had completely given up on men,” she says laughing loudly. “But after three months I started to love him and we got married.”
Her husband has back problems and was shot in the war in Syria, so Samara is the family’s main source of income. “We live in a small room with my cousin and his family,” she explains. “We all get along, but since Akram was born we’ve had to borrow money from them and haven’t been able to pay any of it back. We’re hoping we can pay it back soon so it doesn’t cause any tension.”
Now that the family are reassured that Akram is getting the right treatment they feel a lot happier. “After two months and no progress we were so frustrated and had no money left.” With INARA helping Akram to become happier and healthier the family have one less worry on their mind.
Akram's treatment has been funded by UNICEF.