When Noor, Handicap International’s physical therapist in Jordan, appears outside the camp’s caravans, a little girl with a big smile hurriedly hops up to her. Shua’a and her mother waste no time inviting Noor into their home and are both delighted to see her again. Handicap International’s teams have been taking care of Shua’a since the family arrived in Azraq refugee camp.
Turkyia, Shua’a’s mother, explains that her daughter is looking forward to going back to school. “She hasn’t been for over a year now,” she explains. “Her prosthesis will help her walk and learn again. It’s all she thinks about.”
At the beginning of last year, the Islamic State group seized control of the city where Shua’a and her family were living in Syria. “We immediately fled to the mountains,” says Turkyia. “We stayed there for a month, but the living conditions were really hard so we decided to head back to the city. One day a few helicopters flew over the place where we were taking refuge. We ran through the fields and sheltered under a tree, thinking the bombs would hit houses. But then, barrel bombs started falling on us. My 12-year-old daughter, Shua’a’s big sister, died instantly. My uncle, who was with us, died too. And Shua’a and I were seriously injured.”
Turkyia continues her story as she affectionately caresses her daughter’s hair. “Some local people took us to the hospital. That’s where Shua’a had her foot amputated and they treated me. But a few weeks after the attack, I noticed that my daughter’s injury wasn’t healing well. My husband and I decided to flee to Jordan, where she could get better care,” she adds.
According to Noor: “When she first arrived in the camp we couldn’t fit Shua’a with an artificial foot. We need to wait until her wound heals properly. Today, we are working on improving her balance and strength.”
Noor takes Shua’a by the hand and begins a series of exercises. She teaches her to position her legs correctly before kicking a ball toward her and initiating a small soccer session. She also shows Shua’a how to walk over different terrain. She wants her to be able to adapt to any new environment she comes across.
Noor also encourages Sana and Abdallah, her sister and brother, to take part in the session. The three children have a great time doing the exercises together. “Shua’a has made a lot of progress since we met her,” says Noor. “We recently took her measurements and she is going to be fitted with her first prosthesis within a few weeks.”
Soon Shua’a will soon be able to walk over long distances and to go to school, which makes her very happy. As the session comes to an end, Shua’a tells Noor: “I’d like to be a teacher when I grow up.”
Since early 2013, Handicap International has deployed rehabilitation teams and partners in Syria, where they've provided more than 25,000 physical therapy sessions to people with injuries and disabilities. Learn more about our work in Syria.