Go to main content

“I’ve found people I can finally talk to…”

Emergency Health Rehabilitation
Syria

Hussein, 25, was injured in an air strike in Syria, in 2013. Left paraplegic by a shrapnel that remains lodged in his back, he fled to Lebanon to seek treatment, leaving his family behind. Handicap International, with support from LIGHT FOR THE WORLD, is helping him recover physically and to fight his depression. 

Hussein

Hussein with Maram and Abeer, Handicap International’s psychosocial support specialists | © E. Fourt / Handicap International

Huddled against the stove in his modest room, Hussein looks forward to his visits from Maram and Abeer, Handicap International’s psychosocial support specialists. "Today, it’s our fifth session,” explains Maram. “And I’ve already seen Hussein change house three times since we first met.” After arriving alone in Lebanon a few years ago, Hussein has survived thanks to the generosity of others. For the last few weeks, he has been living with a couple from his village, back in Syria. They also fled to Lebanon when they learned that they were going to have a child. Samar and Imad, now young parents, say : “When he came to live with us, Hussein seemed to be exhausted, physically and psychologically. He is starting to get better, but the fact that he has to change locations so often still troubles him a lot.”

It was Samar and Imad who told Handicap International about Hussein. The organization’s professionals rapidly recommended physiotherapy sessions for the young man. They also suspected that he was suffering from depression and referred him to colleagues, specialized in psychosocial support. Abeer and Maram then met with Hussein and organized a series of sessions to help him manage his anxiety.

“When we first met Hussein, his living conditions were awful and he didn’t want to talk to us at all. He was sharing an apartment with a dozen other Syrians and had no privacy. It took several sessions and a lot of patience to build up the relationship of trust we have with him now,” says Maram.

The aim of today’s session is to encourage him to work on his shyness. In fact, it was Hussein who came up with the idea.

“These sessions help me a lot. I’ve found people I can finally talk to and I’m learning little by little to get rid of my negative thoughts. Maram and Abeer are great people, it’s as if my mind had started functioning again since I met them,” he explains. The two women smile and invite him to tell them more about his life since he arrived in Lebanon. “When I left Syria to come here, I couldn’t even walk,” says Hussein. “Thanks to Handicap International’s physiotherapy sessions, I have gradually recovered. I can feel my legs again. Now I can take a few steps over short distances. I’m gradually getting back to normal, physically and mentally. My biggest dream is to return to how I was, before the accident.”

The discussion continues between Hussein and Handicap International’s professionals. Although he is still quite withdrawn, Hussein starts to open up more. “I want to worry less and leave my anxiety behind me, not to be so stressed about the future,” he says. Maram listens to him carefully, and tries to reassure him. Hussein is in a difficult situation. Unable to work, he has no way of meeting his own needs. His road to independence will be long. But Maram stays positive and underlines the progress he has already made. By keeping that in mind, he’ll be able to continue moving forward.

The session comes to an end and Hussein thanks Maram and Abeer for their help. He tells them that he doesn’t know where he’ll be living when they see him again, but that he’s looking forward to his next session.

Talking with the two young women helps him to feel better and to move forward.

“When the war is over, I would like to help rebuild my country and to find my family again,”

Where your
support
helps

PRESS CONTACT

CANADA

Gabriel PERRIAU

USA

Mica BEVINGTON

 

Help them
concretely

To go further

A frightening increase in the number of victims of explosive weapons
(c) E. Fourt/HI

A frightening increase in the number of victims of explosive weapons

On the occasion of the International Day for Mine Awareness, HI is alarmed by the frightening increase in the number of civilian victims of explosive weapons : 32,008 civilians were killed or injured by explosive weapons in 2016 (out of a total of 45,624 victims), according to Action on Armed Violence (AOAV). The toll looks even heavier for 2017, as civilians account for 90% of the victims of explosive weapons when they are used in populated areas. Landmine Monitor has recorded a dramatic increase in casualties of mine and explosive remnants over the past three years. Syria, Afghanistan, Libya, Ukraine and Yemen are among the main countries affected.

Bangladesh: Rohingya Refugees brace for rain and cyclones
© E.Pajot/ HI

Bangladesh: Rohingya Refugees brace for rain and cyclones

The largest refugee camp in the world is built on tree-stripped hills in a flood-prone area of southern Bangladesh. With annual rains expected to arrive in April and the threat of cyclones looming, HI staff in the camps are extremely concerned about the impact of flooding and landslides on the most vulnerable.

7th anniversary of the Syrian conflict: After the death of partner organisation’s employee, HI condemns continuous bombings
© AFP PHOTO / AMER ALMOHIBANY

7th anniversary of the Syrian conflict: After the death of partner organisation’s employee, HI condemns continuous bombings

A staff member from a Syrian organisation that Humanity and Inclusion (HI) partners with was killed yesterday. Mustafa, his wife and their two children – both under the age of 8 years old – were killed by shelling in Hamouriyeh, Eastern Ghouta. As today marks the 7th anniversary of the Syrian conflict, HI condemns once again bombing and shelling of populated areas and calls on all parties to the conflict to protect civilians.