Making friends through rehabilitation

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Ahmed’s big sister Jamila pushes his wheelchair toward the rehabilitation center in Jordan's Azraq camp for a physical therapy session. Last year, eight-year-old Ahmed, who has cerebral palsy, along with his five siblings and parents, fled Syria. “We had to leave Ahmed’s wheelchair, and carry him all the way,” Jamila says.

Handicap International reached out to Ahmed’s family soon after they arrived, promising a new wheelchair and rehabilitation. This was the first time Ahmed has ever had physical therapy. “Before meeting Handicap International, my brother could not walk or stand," Jamila says. "Now, he’s able to do such things with the help of a walker.”

“He has made huge progress,” Ansam, a Handicap International physical therapist explains. “Maybe one day, Ahmed will be able to stand without a mobility device. He just needs progressive physical therapy.” In addition to physical therapy, our rehabilitation team also provides Ahmed with psychosocial support. One way our team does this is through group activities which help increase social interactions.

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“Some of the children do not attend school, so it’s essential that they interact with other children of the same age... especially for children like Ahmed," Ansam adds. "Every game we play has a meaning. Some activities are meant to work as rehabilitation exercises, while others are created to increase their sensation of belonging and their social skills." goal is to help every child feel included.

“I laughed a lot, we should do it more often,” Jamila says of her brother who smiled throughout the group session. “He has never been to school because of his condition. Ahmed takes every chance he gets to spend time with other children.

“He’s a great boy and I want to do everything I can to help him. Whether or not we end up going back to Syria one day, I just wish he could live a good life. Find a job, get married, have children…because he deserves all the happiness in the world.”