Victim of a war she doesn’t understand

  • Jordan

Salam is a 7-year-old girl from Syria. In autumn 2015, she was injured by an explosive remnant of war and rushed to a hospital in Jordan, where doctors amputated her left leg and part of her right foot. Handicap International (HI) has fitted her with a prosthesis and now provides her with regular physiotherapy care.

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Salam, 7 years old , syrian. She lives in Jordan and Handicap International (HI) provides her regular physiotherapy care

Today, Handicap International ’s team is visiting the home of one of its youngest beneficiaries in Jordan - Salam. They are greeted at the door by Ali, who came to Jordan as a refugee at the start of the war in Syria and now cares for the little girl. As he drinks a cup of tea in his living room, he tells the Handicap International (HI) team about his first meeting with Salam. “One day in October or November 2015, I got a call. They said that one of my relatives had been rushed to Ramtha hospital in northern Jordan and was seriously injured.” Ali and his wife immediately drove to the hospital and discovered it was Salam. “I’d never met her before, because she was the daughter of one of my wife’s distant cousins. But her parents had stayed behind in Syria and I immediately thought of her as my own daughter.

When Ali and his wife arrived at the hospital, surgeons had just amputated Salam’s left leg and part of her right foot. She was still unconscious. “It was so hard to see her like that,” recalls Ali. “I couldn’t understand how an innocent child could lose a leg in a war she didn’t even understand...” On the day of the accident, Ali explains, Salam had gone to pick olives with her parents. “She was playing with her little brother in a field and she picked up an explosive remnant of war. She was too young to know it was dangerous. It exploded and was severely injured. Her little brother’s heart was hit by shrapnel and he died instantly. People immediately ran to help when they heard the explosion.”

© E. Fourt /Handicap International

In the commotion, Salam was taken to the hospital in Jordan before her parents had time to go with her. They knew Ali’s wife had lived there for years and they called her to ask if she could watch over Salam, at the hospital. “Salam had to stay there for six months after the accident,” says Ali. Every day, he and his wife visited the little girl and supervised her recovery.

“She met with a team from Handicap International at the hospital,” he says. “They made a prosthesis for her and gave her physiotherapy care.” Salam’s parents asked Ali to look after her when she was discharged, partly to ensure she continued to receive this kind of care. “If she had gone back to Syria, she wouldn’t have been able to benefit from rehabilitation sessions and her prosthesis would not have been changed regularly. Her parents live in a besieged area and there are no health services available for people like her,” explains Ali.

Ali watches Salam affectionately as she plays next to him. “I had sons when she came into our life, but no daughters. For me, her arrival is a blessing. I’ve always wanted a daughter. Salam is so cheerful and really intelligent. Next year, we’ll send her to school and I hope she’ll have a bright future.” Salam lifts her head and adds with a smile: “I want to be a cook when I grow up!”

Ali, his wife, two of their children and Salam. © E. Fourt /Handicap International


Published on 06/01/2017 - 04:50.

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