“Seeing my daughter recover gives me hope”
Huda, 5, was injured in an air strike in Syria, in June 2016. Suffering from a traumatic brain injury and a fractured leg, the little girl is making a swift recovery thanks to the support of Handicap International. The organisation’s assistance to Syrian refugees in Jordan is supported by the European Commission Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection service (ECHO).
G. Vandendaelen / Handicap International
Three generations of the same family gather in their living room to greet Salam, physiotherapist, and Abood, social worker, when they arrive at Huda’s home. Handicap International’s team is here to provide her with physiotherapy treatment. Soon a little girl joins the rest of the family and snuggles up to her mother. Huda’s hair is gradually growing back and you can still see the huge scar on the left side of her head. She’s just five years old: the little girl was born at the start of the conflict in Syria. She was spared the violence of war… until last June.
“We had two houses in Syria, side by side,” says Ghada, Huda’s mother. “One day, my daughter was walking from one house to the other when a bomb fell a hundred meters from her. Huda was rushed to the nearest clinic, but her injuries were so serious that we were told that she needed to be treated in Jordan. Her brain had come part way out of her skull and she had a large wound on her leg. My daughter and I were transported to the other side of the border. And I immediately tried to get in touch with my family here.”
In fact, some of Ghada’s and Huda’s family members had already taken refuge in Jordan several years before, and they opened their home to them when they left hospital. Huda’s uncle, Mohammad, recounts: “Our relatives told us that my niece had had an accident in Syria and that she was being treated here. We rushed to the hospital and it was obvious that she and her mother would come and live with us when they would be discharged.” Fourteen people now live in their house.
Huda has been followed up by Handicap International since she left hospital. “This is the second time we visit her,” explains Salam, physiotherapist. “She’s making progress very quickly because her wound isn’t very deep. When I last saw her, she couldn’t move her hand or leg and she couldn’t speak either.Look at her today, she’s running everywhere!” In fact, Huda doesn’t seem to be able to keep still and loves doing the exercises suggested by the organisation’s team.
It’s hard to imagine that, just a few weeks ago, the doctors didn’t hold out much hope for her. Some even thought that she would never be able to walk again, and recommended she uses a wheelchair. Today, the little girl seems to have gotten back her happy-go-lucky attitude and love for life. “She really loves playing,” explains Ghada as she looks affectionately at her daughter. “This is the age when children start to socialise,” adds Abood. “So she likes taking part in the sessions with us.”
As the physiotherapy session gets underway, Huda’s mother confides in Handicap International’s team. Her husband and youngest son are still in Syria, and she would like them all to be together. She also hopes that her daughter, like her country, will “get better soon”. “Seeing my daughter recover gives me hope,” she says.