6 years of Syrian crisis, testimonies from our staff on the field

  • Jordan
  • Lebanon
  • Syria

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Sally Marwaseh is a physiotherapist who has been working for Handicap International in Jordan for the past three years.

« I am originally from Homs (Syria), that’s where I grew up. I arrived in Jordan with my family when I was a teenager. When the Syrian crisis started, I immediately wanted to help the refugees. Back then, I had just graduated from University, where I had studied physiotherapy. I joined Handicap International and started working in hospitals. My first weeks were extremely hard and I didn’t think I could keep up… I would see all these injured people coming in and I felt like we were living in a country at war. I was completely overwhelmed by the number of people who had become disabled or had to be amputated by the conflict. But I never gave up. Syrians really need our help. Throughout the years, I learned a lot with the refugees. I hope the war will end soon. Because our beneficiaries only have one hope: to be able to, one day, live in peace and go home. »

© E.Fourt / Handicap International

Abdallah Omoush is a social worker who joined Handicap International in Jordan last year.

« Working with Syrian refugees made me change a lot. This is a very intense experience. Sometimes, our beneficiaries are mad or upset, but I learned how not to take things personally. These people have lived the worst over the past few years… And my work also allows me to live a lot of beautiful moments. I remember one of refugee, who suffered from a strong paralysis. Thanks to our physiotherapy sessions and the mobility aids we provided him with (walker then crutches), he was able to stand and to go outside. We were so happy to see him smile when he started to walk again. That’s for this kind of moments that I do my work. With the crisis dragging on, it would be easy for our beneficiaries to lose hope. But the Syrians that I meet on a daily basis are very resilient. It is inspiring and it commands respect. »

© E.Fourt / Handicap International.

Monsef Sadaqah coordinates Handicap International’s rehabilitation activities inside Syria. He joined the organization four years ago.  

« As a physiotherapist, I always wanted to work for Handicap International. I still remember my first day on the field, in Jordan. I met a young man, about my age, who suffered from a spinal cord injury. He was bedridden, not even able to swallow the food his parents were feeding him. When we visited his family, his dad kept on thanking us for the help we were providing them with. This is when I realized the importance of our assistance to Syrian refugees. All these years working on the Syrian crisis only reinforced my conviction. We help the injured and disabled and their families to restart their life, wherever they are. Six years after the beginning of the war, the situation is disastrous in Syria. Our teams inside the country face various daily challenges but we do not give up: our assistance is vital for the population. »

© E.Fourt / Handicap International

Farah Sweidan trains Handicap International’s partners inside Syria. Before, she worked for three years with refugees in Jordan.

« To work for Handicap International is one of the best things that has happened to me. When the Syrian crisis started, I wanted to help refugees more than anything. The organization allowed me to do so, putting my skills in physiotherapy to use. The scenes that I have witnessed, over the past few years, are terrible… so much more difficult than one can ever imagine, than one can see on TV… A few years ago, I assisted a young Syrian teenager, who suffered from a spinal cord injury. After months of rehabilitation, he was able to stand again on his own. The expression on his face, at that very moment, was indescribable. I remember him looking at me, saying: “I am standing. I am standing Farah. I’ll never forget you.” This sentence and this very moment were enough to convince me that I had found my vocation. »

© E.Fourt / Handicap International

Abdullah Al Sayed is a social worker who joined Handicap International’s team in Lebanon, at the beginning of the Syrian crisis.  

« I am Palestinian and when the Syrian crisis started, I immediately wanted to help the refugees in Lebanon. My family had to flee our country, decades ago, so I understand how they feel. I do not work for money, I work to help, as much as I can, the people I meet. I remember one of our beneficiaries, a Syrian girl who had tried to commit suicide by jumping off the roof of her building. When she came out of the coma, we immediately offered our assistance. Our psycho-social support and our physiotherapy sessions allowed her to stand tall again and gave her a new chance at life. The current situation in Syria doesn’t improve and refugees tell us that they need our help more than ever before. We are amongst the only NGOs offering rehabilitation services in Lebanon. Our work in the country is necessary, even 6 years after the beginning of the conflict. »

© E.Fourt / Handicap International

Wassila El Hassan is a physiotherapist. She joined Handicap International in Lebanon at the beginning of the Syrian crisis.

« The war in Syria has killed hundreds of thousands of people and has forced millions to flee their homes, leaving everything behind. The people we meet through our work have lost their house, their job, their relatives and friends, sometimes even parts of their bodies… Our beneficiaries’ physical and psychological suffering is tremendous. When I started working for the organization, I thought I could heal the whole world. My first weeks of work brought me back to reality. I was overwhelmed by the extent of this crisis. Throughout the years, I understood that we have to do our best to help the refugees, even if it will never be enough. During rehabilitation sessions, I try to make people feel better, to give them again this feeling of safety that they often have lost.  My willingness to ease our beneficiaries’ suffering is what has made me leave home and go to work, every morning, for the past years. »

© E.Fourt / Handicap International

Published on 06/06/2017 - 09:29.

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