Helping Omar stand tall

Last June, 11-year-old Omar had his left leg amputated after being injured in a bomb attack in Mosul. Today, he receives rehabilitation care from Handicap International at the Muharibeen Hospital in Iraq. 

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When their home in the west of Mosul was hit by a bomb two months ago, Omar and his family lost everything they owned. “We were all together and my children were playing with their cousins in the living room,” explains Omar’s father, Haitham. “I remember the sound and force of the blast. The bomb fell on my children. I ran over to them and found them lying in a pool of blood. It was a terrible sight – I’ll never forget it. Ahmad, my 12-year-old son, had his head half open, and Nava, who was just five-years-old, had her stomach riddled with shrapnel. And Omar’s leg was in pieces.”

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The family spent two weeks at a hospital in Mosul, where doctors amputated Omar’s left leg, and his brothers and sisters underwent several operations. The three children were then taken to three other hospitals for additional surgeries. “It was in one of the health centers that I first heard about Handicap International,” Haitham continues. “Our house in the west of Mosul was destroyed so we’re staying with relatives in the east of the city. The health center here is very convenient for us. I’m really happy you’re here to help Omar.” 

While Haitham talks with one of our team members about his son’s progress, Omar lies on the examination table doing his exercises under the watchful eye of Mouna, a physical therapist with HI. Each time he lifts what’s left of his left leg, the boy bites his lip. Two months after his accident, he still experiences searing pain.

Haitham, his father, urges him to give it everything he’s got. Worried about his son, he wants to make sure he’ll walk again one day. “It’s his eighth session today,” he explains quietly. “My son’s already made a lot of progress. At the beginning, he couldn’t stand at all. It’s the little signs that keep me going – that’s why I keep urging him on.  Things aren’t easy for us, so seeing him stand keeps my spirits up, despite everything we’ve been through.”

Haitham, who has not worked for several months, says the family is mostly reliant on humanitarian aid. “The fact that people are helping my son to get back on his feet again and to focus on the future gives me hope,” he says.