“My work helped me overcome depression” Fadi, 34
Fadi is 34 years old and he lives in Syria. For more than a year, he has been working with the risk education team of one of Handicap International’s partners, in the south region of the country. He had to have his leg amputated after he was injured by an explosive weapon and now wants to raise other people’s awareness on the risks these weapons.
Fadi running a session with children. | © Handicap International
Fadi is one of these persons who take their fate into their own hands, no matter how difficult life may get. A few years ago, he lost his leg in an explosion but decided to turn this harrowing experience into a lesson for others. In 2015, he joined Handicap International’s partner team, first as a volunteer, and then as a risk awareness officer. Every day, he visits schools, mosques and homes to tell people about the danger of explosive weapons. “Because I’m a casualty myself, it makes my message more credible during awareness sessions. The children often touch my artificial leg and they understand how serious it is and what weapons can do to people. So they listen carefully to my advice,” explains Fadi.
Although Fadi enjoys his work and helping others, he admits that the road to recovery has been long: “After my accident, I became really depressed. I didn’t want to go out and I just stayed home all the time. Thanks to my brother, I got my hope back. He forced me to go out and to get involved in the activities run by Handicap International’s partner in the region.” “My work helped me overcome my depression,” he says.
“I’ve worked with the organisation for a year now. What motivates me is the idea of getting this message across to the people I meet. Our work is really important because the war shows no signs of ending and some people are starting to return home even though their towns are contaminated by explosive weapons. We need to be sure they know how to handle the dangers they might face.”
Every day, Fadi and his colleagues provide dozens of people with risk education sessions on mines and explosive devices. “Our sessions make a big difference,” he explains. “Sometimes, before our sessions, the people we meet have no idea of the risks they are running. When they thank me for raising their awareness, it’s a great feeling.” For Fadi, success is knowing that he has got his message across: “Sometimes children come to see me and show me photos of an area they think is dangerous. That’s when I realize that our work has an impact, and that they’ve understood our message.”
Driven by a desire to help, Fadi has found his vocation and doesn’t plan to stop there. “I’m going to continue doing this work until the war is over and our country is free from the danger of explosive weapons.” Since it launched its response in Syria, Handicap International has enabled people like Fadi to raise the awareness of more than 135,000 people on the risk of explosive weapons and mines. The organisation also helps the casualties of these weapons by providing them with rehabilitation sessions, fitting them with prostheses and orthoses and distributing mobility aids.