Before the war, Jana’s mother Amani studied fine art in Syria. She was happily married to her childhood sweetheart and they had two young children. She found it hard to balance between her studies and her family life, but she loved how challenging her life was. Everything was going well, and she woke up every morning feeling blessed.
The war took everything
Amani recalls the good times in the INARA offices, while she holds her five-month old daughter Jana in her arms. Tears fill her eyes as she remembers her old life. The war has taken everything from Amani. All she has left are her four children, who she holds onto protectively.
The family left Syria to come to Lebanon as refugees. She had to quit her studies before she had completed them, but she knew this was the sacrifice she would have to make in order to ensure her children were safe.
In Lebanon, she and her husband found a small room for the family to live in. The bathroom and toilet are in the same room and they had very little room or privacy, but it was all they could afford together. They struggled to find money, but her husband would find work occasionally, which was usually enough for them to pay the rent and buy food for the family to eat.
Her husband went to find their legal papers
Last year, the family realized that they would need to get specific documents left in Syria to process their papers so that they could continue to live in Lebanon. Amani’s husband went back. She waved him off with her children, anxious that he wouldn’t return.
Sadly that was the last time Amani saw her husband. She hasn’t received any news since, and fears that he was killed, although she does not know how.
Rather than let this crush her, Amani had to stay strong for her family. She got a job cleaning stairs in apartment blocks in a nearby city. She realized a month into her new job that she was pregnant. She knew that she couldn’t afford another child, but she felt blessed that she had a chance to bring another life into this world.
Jana was born with DDH
Her daughter Jana was born in February of this year. Before Amani could hold and admire her beautiful new daughter, doctors took her away. Amani was on her own in the hospital and didn’t understand what was happening.
Doctors came in shortly after and told her that her daughter was born with developmental dislocation of the hip (DDH) on her right side. The condition would mean that, if left untreated, she would likely be in a huge amount of pain when doing ordinary tasks like walking. It also increases the likelihood of her developing osteoarthritis, and could produce a difference in leg length that could cause her a severe limp.
A future of pain was not what Amani had hoped for her newborn daughter. After everything she herself had been through in her life, she was determined that her daughter would not have to go through similar hardships. So she started to approach organizations in Lebanon who might be able to help them.
After searching for five months for someone who could help, she was finally given a lead that might well prove successful. Caritas told her about INARA, an organization that they told her had just opened a project to help children with DDH.
She called us and we immediately arranged for Jana to come into the American University of Beirut Medical Center (AUBMC) for an appointment. During, orthopedic deformity expert Dr Taha. He informed us that Jana would need to wear a dynamic hip abduction brace for two months. After that, Jana would need an x-ray to see whether she would need two further months wearing the brace, or would in fact need surgery on her hip. Dr Taha did inform Amani that it is likely that she would need a surgery.
INARA will be paying for the entire treatment, as part of its newly launched orthopedics project. It is only through this project that a vulnerable Syrian refugee family like Amani’s would be able to access this costly and intensive treatment. INARA was founded by INARA to ensure that a child like Jana didn’t fall through the gaps in medical provision in Lebanon.
If this family’s story moved you, please help them and others like them by donating today. With your help, we can and do make a difference to the lives of refugee children from Syria.
Jana's treatment was funded by UNICEF.