There have been many deaths and casualties of the war in Syria, now in its seventh year, and many tragic stories. Despite all the tragedy, there have also been some stories of hope and positivity, such as this one, about a teenage Syrian girl who was seriously injured and lost her family in a bombing.
Roqaya, age 14, was very seriously injured in a bombing attack in Syria: a shell exploded near her, injuring both of her legs so badly that they had to be amputated at the knee. It was uncertain if she would ever walk again, but less than a year later she is back on her feet, walking independently, helped by aid donations from charities such as Handicap International.
Roqaya now lives in a village in northern Jordan, only a couple of miles from the border with Syria, alongside around 600,000 Syrian refugees in Jordan. She appears like any other teenage girl: a bit shy and quite giggly, as she sits on a sofa, tapping at her smartphone, and scrolling through her Facebook feed, like any other girl her age.
Brave Roqaya tells in a matter-of-fact way of how she was at home in Syria when the bomb exploded, which changed her life forever. She was at home with her mother, talking on the phone, when the shell struck the house, killing her mother and seriously injuring her. She lost consciousness and when she awoke, she was in the hospital in Jordan.
Her injuries were so serious that both of her legs had to be amputated at the knees. At first, she didn’t know if she would ever walk again. After being operated on in hospital in Syria, she was evacuated over the border into Jordan and now lives in a refugee camp.
Soon after she was treated in a Jordan hospital, she was referred to the charity Handicap International, an organization which is partly funded by aid from the UK. Physiotherapists from this charity started visiting her in the hospital, supporting her recovery by giving her physio sessions and arranging for custom-built new prosthetic legs for her. Now, less than a year after receiving the legs, Roqaya is walking on her own again.
She says at first she feared she would not walk at all, then worried that the legs might be too heavy for her. “But I have a strong personality, and I wanted to walk, be independent and do everything I was able to do in Syria before the accident.” She is an inspirational person, and despite everything, is looking to the future. Let’s hope it is a bright one for her.
Photo courtesy of www.handicap-international.co.uk