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"The mine threw me up into the air and ripped my leg off"

Emergency Explosive weapons Rehabilitation
Yemen

Raja, from Yemen, is 13 years old. She was looking after the sheep in the mountains when she trod on a mine which exploded and threw her into the air.  Her leg was ripped off.

Raja doing her exercises to learn to walk with her prosthesis

Raja doing her exercises to learn to walk with her prosthesis | © Ayman / HI

13-year-old Raja is a shepherdess. She was looking after the sheep with some friends when she trod on a mine which was half-buried in the ground. The young girl was thrown several metres into the air and her leg was ripped off.

Rushed to the nearest health centre, first of all the nurses stopped the bleeding, then Raja was transferred to the hospital in Sanaa. At the hospital she was operated on by the surgeons who took care to ensure her stump formed the right shape for a future prosthesis.

Coping with the trauma

Immediately after her operation, HI provided her with a wheelchair. As she was depressed and permanently angry, she was also supported by a psychologist. Two months later, once her stump had healed correctly, Raja was fitted with a prosthesis. Getting back on her feet had a radical impact on her morale.

Living in poverty

Raja comes from a very poor family whose only income comes from growing Qat (a shrub whose leaves are highly prized in Yemen). The money from the harvest is only just enough to feed her parents and ten brothers and sisters. Without HI's support the consequences of Raja's injury could have been even more dramatic for her and her family.

Walking long distances

In December Raja finished her rehabilitation exercises to help her adjust to her prothesis. She then felt confident about walking. She was no longer apprehensive and was able to walk long distances. She has improved every day and is now full of energy and the joy of life.

"I am happy to have faced up to my fears, to be getting out and about and walking again. I now want to go back home, to get back to my friends and my normal life.

Raja's time with HI has awakened a new vocation:

I would really like to go to school. Before the accident, I had planned to go to school the following year. I want to keep this promise and become a humanitarian worker to help other people, like the HI team has helped me."

Date published: 03/01/19

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