“We came to Lebanon a few months after I was badly injured in an explosion in the Syrian war,” Jamal’s father Abed tells us. He limps as he walks into the INARA offices, holding his sleepy young son in his arms.
“I had a few operations in Syria but they all went wrong,” he explains. Ever since they came to Lebanon as refugees, his father hasn’t been able to work. The family have very little money and survive as best they can. They share a small room in an apartment with Abed’s parents, to keep the price down. “Renting is a lot more expensive in Lebanon than it was in Syria,” Abed adds. “Actually everything is more expensive in Lebanon!”
After everything that Abed had been through, the news that his wife Amal was expecting their first child was one of the happiest moments of his life. He couldn’t wait to meet his child, and had so many hopes and dreams for the future.
But Jamal was born with clubfoot on both feet. “We were very sad when we found this out. We couldn’t understand why a newborn child would suffer from such a thing…” However, despite this news, they still held onto their hopes and dreams for their firstborn child.
Searching for help
They immediately began to seek advice from doctors on what they could do. But each time they had a consultation, they were shocked to hear how expensive treatment for this was. In Syria, this treatment would have been free – but in Lebanon, where healthcare is privatized, medical help for clubfoot is lengthy and expensive.
The family began to lose hope that their son would lead a happy life. It was only when they were referred to INARA by Doctors Without Borders that the family began to hold onto their faith that things would work out for them.
INARA immediately brought Jamal to meet Dr Taha at the American University of Beirut Medical Center (AUBMC). Doctors informed the family that Jamal had a mild form of clubfoot in both of his feet, and presented them with a medical plan.
Over a month, Jamal would have one casting session per week to realign his foot. Thereafter, the parents would be taught some physical exercises that they will use on their son to improve mobility. He would also receive Dennis Brown shoes that he will wear until he is three or four years of age.
The family feel relieved and extremely thankful that their young son is now getting the treatment he needs. “We really thank everyone who has made this happen from the bottom of our hearts,” Abed tells us.
It is only thanks to our donors that this kind of treatment for refugee children is available now in Lebanon. Our orthopedic project is only small, and there are only a certain amount of children that we are able to help. But the impact this has on these children and families is enormous. We can remind them that not every door is closed to them, and it means they can still hold onto their dreams of a happy and healthy future for their children.
Jamal's treatment was funded by UNICEF.