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“Life here is very tough” Abdurrahman, 21

Explosive weapons Prevention

Abdurrahman, 21, is from south Syria. One day, as he was walking in a forest, a mine exploded next to him. Following this accident, Abdurrahman had his leg amputated and he has since been fitted with a prosthesis. Today, Handicap International’s partner team meets with him and his family for the first time, and carries out a risk education session for them. The organisation also provides the young Syrian with pieces of advice on where to access rehabilitation services.

The children from Abdurrahman’s family and their neighbours take part in the risk education session.

The children from Abdurrahman’s family and their neighbours take part in the risk education session. | © Handicap International

Handicap International has carried out risk education sessions in Syria for several years. More than five years after the start of the conflict which continues to rage across the country, Syria is infested with weapons that threaten to explode at any time. Some regions are heavily contaminated. Today, one of the organisation’s partner teams is visiting a village in the south of the country. As they go from house to house, raising the awareness of the local population, they come across Abdurrahman. The 21-year-old man welcomes the team into his home and agrees to the risk education session. Victim of an explosive weapon a few months ago, which resulted in his leg being amputated, he recognizes the vital importance of this type of sessions.

“On that day, I was in the forest, cutting wood to sell over the winter and to heat our home,” Abdurrahman tells Handicap International’s partner team as they set up their equipment.Suddenly a landmine, hidden under a pile of leaves next to me, exploded. I didn’t see it. I don’t even know what it looked like. But I lost my leg in the accident,” he continues, still visibly traumatised by the event.

Since his accident, the young man has been unable to work. “Life here is very tough,” he says. “My father is very old and I need to take care of him, my mother, brothers and sisters. We live in an isolated region, and there are lots of mines and explosive weapons lying around, so it’s difficult to access the services we’d like to benefit from. We only survive because certain people and organisations help us.” As Abdurrahman chats with our teams, the children of the family gather in the living room. The session can begin.

The team spends the next hour providing Abdurrahman and his brothers and sisters with information on the risks of explosive weapons. Before leaving, at the end of the session, they also provide the young man with pieces of information regarding the rehabilitation services he can benefit from in the region. As he says goodbye, Abdurrahman thanks the team: “This risk education session was useful. We know more about the risks of explosive weapons now. We’ll definitely pay more attention in our daily activities.” 

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