Lebanon: Syrian Refugee, 8, Finds Joy Against All Odds

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Against all odds, eight-year-old Syrian refugee Mostafa finds joy in helping others. He especially likes caring for his adopted dog Stella and her seven puppies which live in the field by his temporary home in Lebanon. He doesn’t want them to suffer.

Last November, Mostafa's house in Syria was bombed and his legs were seriously injured. Both of his parents were killed in the bombing, and now Mostafa lives with his ten- and 13-year-old brothers and 16-year-old sister Rawan in a shelter made of corrugated iron and plastic sheeting. Day to day life is a struggle for the children, but Handicap International is helping Mostafa recover from his injuries and providing Rawan with funds to pay for food and rent.

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As a result of the bombing, Mostafa suffered multiple injuries including a fracture to his left leg. “My other brothers and I were away when our house was bombed, and we didn’t find Mostafa until late at night,” says Rawan. “He suffered all night bleeding and in pain until the next morning when our neighbors helped us reach the hospital.”

Since reaching Lebanon, Mostafa has been under the care of Handicap International Physical Therapist Mohammad Al Kurdi, who is helping the boy to regain the use of his left leg. "Mostafa is very cooperative,” says Mohammad. “He does the exercises I taught him every day, which is helping him to recover more quickly.”

Handicap International also provides Rawan with financial assistance to help pay for rent and food. Despite this support, and the small amount of money Mostafa’s eldest brother makes working in the fields, the children do not have enough money to go to school.

“I know that Mostafa is sad that he can’t go to school any more—he loved it so much," says Rawan.

"I still plan on becoming a doctor,” says Mostafa.

"I think Mostafa wants to help others because he suffered so much on the night of his accident,” says Zainab Ghazaleh, Mostafa’s social worker.

"What kind of doctor do you want to be, Mostafa?" asks Zainab.

"A doctor of everything!" he replies with a big smile. 

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