Mahmoud at the rehabilitation in Tripoli, Lebanon | © T. Al Zoobi / HI
Mahmoud was injured in a bomb blast that left his left hand paralysed. Since the bombing, he has been unable to speak. HI is helping him recover from his injury and trauma.
Mahmoud Ahmad Sbaity is 12 years old and lives in the Badawi camp in Tripoli, Lebanon, home to hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees who have fled the war in their own country.
Mahmoud’s mother works as a cleaner. His father passed away a year ago. The family lives in a small rented flat. Mahmoud goes to school where he has many friends. He has a normal life now, but his early childhood in the midst of the war in Syria was very hard.
When Mahmoud was 4 years old, he was sitting by his mother at home when a bomb was dropped on their house. Mahmoud’s left hand was injured by shrapnel, leaving it totally paralysed. His 12 year-old brother was killed in the explosion.
Mahmoud remembers the chaos around him. People were running and screaming. There was total panic…
A few months after the attack, too afraid to stay in Syria, the family fled to Lebanon and settled in the Badawi refugee camp.
Here, Mahmoud was welcomed by HI’s team and given physiotherapy treatment to recover the mobility in his hand. Today, he can use his hand again.
The shock of the bomb attack left Mahmoud unable to speak. It still affects his speech and ability to learn new words. He has a limited vocabulary and a stutter. HI’s partner in Tripoli, the Community-based Rehabilitation Association (CBRA) is giving him speech therapy. At first, he had two sessions a week, but now, after showing some progress, he is having one session a week. His rehabilitation plan is for 6 months.
During the sessions, the therapist uses soap bubbles, for example, to play with the children while teaching them short words. He also uses pictures with contrasting colours to stimulate visual attention and eye contact and of animals and fruits to broaden his vocabulary.
For a long time, Mahmoud was ashamed and afraid that he would never be able to use his left hand. He embarked upon the long road to rehabilitation. Progress was slow but continuous and today, thanks to his physiotherapy, he has recovered his hand functions.