Earlier this year, three-year-old Fayez and his family fled Syria and are now living in Lebanon. For Fayez and his family, the road to Ghazze, the refugee camp where they are living has been a long one. Caught in several attacks, they’ve been displaced a number of times since the start of the conflict.
“At the beginning of 2017, a missile fell on our house and injured my uncle, husband, and brother-in-law. After that, we took refuge with my family in Damascus,” Fayez’s mother, Noor says. “We wanted my husband to get treated there, but when we arrived we were hit by a second attack. One day, a man dressed in military clothes blew himself up next to us. I could just see blood everywhere, a bloodbath. People were thrown backwards by the explosion and there were arms and legs detached from bodies. We started to look for my sons but we couldn’t find them. People helped us and, finally, we found them at the hospital.”
Their eldest son Fayez was seriously injured. He had shrapnel embedded in his brain and he was partially paralyzed. “We came to Lebanon so he could be treated because we’ve lost everything in Syria,” Noor continues. “And the situation there had become unbearable. There were constant attacks and bombing and we weren’t safe anywhere. It was very difficult to flee.”
Fayez’s parents heard about Handicap International shortly after arriving in Lebanon. One of our rehabilitation staff visited the young boy and began providing him with physical therapy. “He’s getting better now,” says Noor with a smile. “When we arrived, he couldn’t talk, walk, or even stand up. He still finds it hard to communicate but at least he’s moving again.”
Noor pays close attention as Mariam, a physical therapist with HI performs rehabilitation exercises with Fayez. Halfway through the session, Fayez’s father joins them in the living room. He smiles as he watches his son, delighted at the progress he’s made since arriving in the country.
His progress has restored hope to his parents, who are finding it hard to get used to life as refugees in Lebanon. “We had such a good life in Syria, just a few years ago,” Fayez’s father explains. “It’s been really difficult to come to terms with the idea that we’ve lost everything. Before the war, we had a normal, peaceful existence. We went to work and had a beautiful home. I don’t know if life will ever be the same again. But I hope so, for his sake…"
“My son is just three-years-old,” Noor adds. “He was caught in two attacks this year and now, he’s a refugee in a country he doesn’t know. Tell me, what did he do to deserve this? All that matters to me now is to try to secure a good future for him. And I hope we can go back to our country soon. Every day, I dream that we’ll be able to return to our old life again. And that my son will grow up happy, like other children. That’s really all I want for him now.” Fayez sits on his mother’s knees, as if to comfort her. She strokes his cheek and silently wipes away her tears.