This story was originally shared on INARA’s website, which can be found here.
Lebanon is home to 1.5 million Syrian refugees with a total population of 4.5 million. Here, in a country overloaded with newcomers, official refugee camps are not permitted, so many people have resorted to living in makeshift tents.
Amjad and his family fled to Lebanon five years ago to escape the violence, leaving behind their once comfortable and happy lives. Now, they, too, live in a simple tent in the northern part of the country. However, despite poor living conditions, Amjad’s family is grateful not to be living in a place where bombings and attacks are part of life; they worry frequently that their relatives have not been so lucky.
One day, Amjad’s mother turned on the gas to cook something for her hungry children. But the gas faucet was stuck; gas started leaking into the tent. One of her oldest children held a lighter in his hand and accidentally lit it. The entire tent burst into flames while Amjad and his siblings were still inside.
Amjad rushed to help his younger siblings get out first, and in the process, stepped on the tent’s white-hot nylon and burned his legs and feet. His family rushed him to the nearest hospital, but the doctors didn’t have the training to treat Amjad’s severe burns. Instead, they gave him medication for the pain.
Four months passed, and Amjad could still barely walk; the bandages wrapped around his feet had caused his toes to fuse together. He became depressed and withdrawn, watching his brothers and the other neighborhood children run around without him.
Then, Amjad was connected to INARA, an organization that was co-founded by 2017 Crisis Award Honoree Arwa Damon. INARA heard Amjad’s story and took him to see doctors at the American University of Beirut Medical Center (AUBMC), who confirmed that he hadn’t received the care he needed to fully heal. INARA funded his surgery, and three weeks later, he was back to leading an active life.
Today, Amjad can walk, run and play with his brothers and other children in the area, giving his family hope that he will have the opportunity – one day – to lead a better life.
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