The couple behind northern Syria's only prosthetics workshop

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The war in Syria resulted in a tragedy for Ghazal and Nahla. In 2013, Ghazal was working for an organization dedicated to children with disabilities that he and a friend founded. He shared his passion for sports, and encouraged the kids he met to overcome the obstacles set in front of them. Inspired by her husband’s commitment, Nahla, worked as an aerobics instructor in the same center.

But the conflict crashed into their lives when a cousin's leg was amputated, and he fell into a deep depression. Because of their work with people with disabilities, and their belief that anything was possible, Ghazal and Nahla decided they would make an artificial leg for their cousin.

Ghazal studied day and night. He watched videos online and read how-to books in Arabic. After purchasing some equipment, Ghazal tested his design and asked his family for feedback. After creating an artificial leg for his cousin, he decided to leave his job so he could devote more time to creating artificial limbs for other victims of war.

When a rocket destroyed her workplace, Nahla, joined her husband’s workshop. Her concerns of seeing amputees on a daily basis were eased after experiencing the joy on individuals’ faces while being fitted by her husband. Over time, Ghazal perfected his technique and more and more people requested their services.

But when Nahla and Ghazal’s village came under attack, they were presented with a new challenge. Determined to continue producing artificial limbs, Ghazal, Nahal, and their child, moved into their workshop.

They received new patients in a caravan, which they used to accommodate people who traveled far to be fitted with an artificial limb. Because their journey was costly and dangerous, the couple also fed their patients and worked for free. Their greatest regret was not being able to fit everyone who came to them, because they didn’t have enough time or money.

That’s when Handicap International contacted Ghazal and Nahla and offered a partnership. The organization provided the couple with an eight-week training course to help them perfect production techniques, and to adapt to the difficult work environment.  

Nahla recalls, laughing: “Ghazal kept on saying that his dream had come true when he received Handicap International’s proposal.” Nahla feels they have benefited from the training course. “It has been really useful to get advice from professionals and it will help us improve the quality of our artificial limbs, and adapt to the needs of our patients in Syria.”

Handicap International is thrilled to be working with Ghazal and Nahla­­—a great couple that will help ensure amputees and people with disabilities in Syria get the help they need. For Ghazal and Nahla, every day is like a dream: “We want to become excellent technicians and train other people to produce prostheses. Our goal is to open the first prosthetics and orthotics production training center in Syria.”