Go to main content

“I realised how drastically his life had changed”

Emergency
Bangladesh

HI physiotherapist, Farhana, works in Kutupalong camp in Bangladesh, which has become one of the largest refugee settlements in the world. Ibrahim is one of more than 600,000 Rohingya refugees who fled when violence broke out in Myanmar in August 2017 and one of many who sustained life-changing injuries. Farhana shares her experience of meeting Ibrahim and the progress they have made.

Farhana and Ibrahim after a physiotherapy session

Farhana and Ibrahim after a physiotherapy session | © P. Poussereau/HI

The first time I met Ibrahim was very difficult. After several weeks lying in bed, unable to move, he was very frustrated and had lost all hope. He was withdrawn, uncooperative and would not even try to sit up.

Ibrahim is a Rohingya man from Rakhine state in Myanmar. He ran from his village when it was attacked in August but he was caught, severely beaten and left for dead. The attack caused serious damage to his spinal cord, leaving his lower body paralysed.

During that first meeting, I realised how drastically Ibrahim’s life had changed. Just a few months earlier, he had been a healthy shopkeeper able to provide for his wife and two children. Now, he found himself lying under tarpaulins and completely dependent on his family. I knew that we were starting a long journey together and that providing psychological support would be just as important as the physical care.

Now, two months on, I really look forward to seeing Ibrahim and I know how important my visits are for him. Progress is slow, which is normal, but he is very motivated and keen to practice the exercises I have shown him.

Last month, HI provided Ibrahim with a wheelchair and we have been working together to build the strength in his core and arms so that he can balance and push himself. Simply being able to leave his shelter, to buy a few things and chat with neighbours, has made a huge difference to his health and mood; we joke together now and talk about the future.

This has been my first experience working in a refugee context and, at times, I have found the conditions very challenging. Seeing Ibrahim’s progress and the difference my colleagues and I are making to his life is what motivates me every day.

A team of 300 HI staff and volunteers has been responding to the urgent needs of Rohingya refugees since the outbreak of the crisis in August 2017.

Where your support helps

Read more

Indonesia tsunami: many victims still out of reach
© CIS-Timor/ HI
Emergency

Indonesia tsunami: many victims still out of reach

The impact of the earthquake and tsunami that hit Indonesia continues to be felt. Liquefaction (the process of loose soil acting like a liquid during an earthquake) has engulfed entire villages, leaving more than 10,000 people injured and 800 missing.

Indonesia tsunami: "More than 190,000 people need assistance"
© AFP PHOTO/ADEK BERRY
Emergency

Indonesia tsunami: "More than 190,000 people need assistance"

A powerful earthquake followed by a tsunami struck the centre of the Indonesian region of Sulawesi on 28th September, killing more than 1,400 people and injuring more than 2,500. Humanity & Inclusion, which has sent a support team of experts to Indonesia, is coordinating its response with local organisations.

Indonesia: Coming to the aid of tsunami victims
© HI
Emergency

Indonesia: Coming to the aid of tsunami victims

A tsunami struck the centre of the Indonesian region of Sulawesi a few days ago, killing more than 1,200 people. As HI’s teams prepare to help its victims, Pauline Falipou, one of HI’s emergency physiotherapists, who provided assistance in the wake of the earthquake in Nepal in 2015, explains the rehabilitation needs of people in this type of emergency.