“I’d like to care for people too”

Abdel Hamid, 11, is from Mosul, Iraq. On the 19th of March, he was caught in a bomb attack that left him with a fractured hip. Rushed to hospital, he now receives daily physiotherapy care from a Handicap International team.


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Abdel Hamid and Fatima during a physiotherapy session.

As Fatima, Handicap International’s physiotherapist, makes her way to Abdel Hamid’s hospital room, she notices the boy’s father standing in the doorway. He greets her and then, in a hushed voice, says: “Please don’t talk to my son about his brothers and sisters.  He doesn’t know they are all dead. I don’t know how to tell him…” Fatima nods silently and enters Abdel Hamid’s room. Although the boy has only known her for a few days, he has grown close to Fatima during his physiotherapy sessions. She gives him a warm smile and initiates a new rehabilitation session.

After checking the external fixations on Abdel Hamid’s left leg, she asks: “So, are you ready to walk today?” The boy’s face lights up with a smile: “You think I can?” he asks. “Really?” The physiotherapist winks at him, points to a pair of crutches she has brought especially for him, and asks him to sit on the edge of the bed. Abdel Hamid swivels slowly sidewards on his mattress.

His only wish is to walk again. Last month he was injured in an attack as he was playing on the roof of his home. Since then, he has passed through the surgery departments of several hospitals. Now in recovery, he finds it difficult to make even the slightest movement. But Abdel Hamid is determined to get back on his feet and puts a lot of effort into his rehabilitation exercises. As he gently lowers his feet to the floor, Fatima kneels, level with him and spurs him on.

When I met him, he found it really difficult to move even a few inches. He just lay in bed all the time. But he’s made amazing progress since we started the physiotherapy sessions,” explains Fatima. “Two days ago, I got him to take a few steps with a walking frame for the first time. Today, I want get him to use his crutches. He’ll walk without mobility aids one day, but unless we help him now, he might develop a limp.”

Abdel Hamid steps down from his hospital bed. © E. Fourt / Handicap International

The physiotherapist patiently tells him to take his time and not to worry about his injury. To help him focus on his future, she asks him what he wants to do when he’s older. “I want to be a doctor, like you,” Abdel Hamid says to her. “That way, I can care for injured children too.” He places one foot on the floor and then another, and then takes hold of the crutches, under the affectionate gaze of his father. Fatima walks beside him as he heads towards the corridor. The other patients, who notice him take a few steps, cheer him on. Abdel Hamid smiles. It’s the first time he has left his room since he arrived in the hospital.

Abdel Hamid leaves his room for the first time since he arrived in the hospital. © E. Fourt / Handicap International

Published on 05/24/2017 - 05:43.

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