“It was the worst day of my life”
Mohammad is 41 years old. Originally from Syria, he now lives as a refugee in Jordan with his wife and children. Last year, he had a serious accident at work that left him unable to move for several months. Handicap International (HI) gave him physiotherapy care to help restore his mobility. The organisation also helped Mohammad’s daughter, Amani, who was suffering from a congenital malformation, to have surgery and to benefit from rehabilitation sessions.
Mohammad and his daughter Amani | © Elisa Fourt / HI.
Seated on a mattress on the floor of his living room, Mohammad watches Amani draw. Already dressed in her uniform, his daughter is waiting impatiently for the school bus to come. “She loves studying and she’s top of her class,” he says proudly to the HI team visiting them. Mohammad is pleased to see that she now longer struggles to use her pencils. That wasn’t always the case. Amani, 10, has a hand malformation. “When my daughter was born, she didn’t have a thumb,” he explains, looking at her fingers.
Mohammad didn’t think anything could be done to improve Amani’s day-to-day life, until he had a serious accident. “When the war broke out in Syria, I came here to carry on working and meet my family’s need. My wife and children joined me a few years later, when the conflict had got much worse and life was just too hard to stay there anymore. When I arrived here, I did all the odd jobs I could find - mainly manual labour on building sites. One day, I was working on the roof of a building. I lost my footing and fell several floors. I broke my hip in three different places and I also fractured my hand and leg bones. It was the worst day of my life.” Saida, his wife, adds: “It was the worst day for our whole family. We were so afraid for him. We thought were going to lose him.”
Mohammad stayed in hospital for three days where he was operated on several times before being sent home. “We had a really hard time,” recalls Saida. “My husband couldn’t move at all and he was in a lot of pain. We didn’t have enough money for painkillers, so I looked for humanitarian assistance. People told me about HI’s services and shortly afterwards one of the organisation’s teams came to visit us.”
Abdul Rahman, the organisation’s physiotherapist, explains: “The first time I met Mohammad, he was bedridden and couldn’t move at all. We began by trying to make him move his fingers, then his hand, and gradually the rest of his body. To look at him now, standing and walking, you’d never think... But this is the result of several physiotherapy sessions and he’s recovered in a really incredible way. And then, the support we provided to Mohammad also made it possible for us to help his daughter, Amani.”
After meeting Mohammad, the organisation’s team also arranged for his daughter to be operated on, free of charge, in a hospital of the Jordanian capital. “Then we began doing physiotherapy and occupational therapy sessions with Amani too,” explains the organisation’s physiotherapist. “I see her once a week and we work on the sensitivity of her right hand because we want her to be able to use both hands in the same way. She’s really improved since our first session.”
Amani’s two sisters sit next to her and Abdul Rahman gets them to join in the session. Mohammad looks at his three daughters drawing in silence. “My greatest wish now is to go back to work as soon as possible,” he says. “The fact that I can stand up again gives me hope. And I want to do everything I can to make sure they have a bright future. I also dream of a quick end to this war in our country so that we can finally return home. It will be easier to start over there.”
Learn more: This HI project enables vulnerable people in Jordan to benefit from rehabilitation care. Handicap International’s clinics provide physiotherapy, occupational therapy and psychosocial support services and also donate wheelchairs and mobility aids. The organisation pays the transport expenses of beneficiaries when they visit the clinic for rehabilitation care. To reach out to people who are unable to visit the clinic, a mobile team provides at-home care.