Handicapped Syrian Refugee Finds Peace And Joy In Painting

This story comes to us from Syria.

Amal, about whom this story is, is the Arabic name for hope. Her mother says that ever since she was born, she had known nothing but suffering.

Fatima, Amal’s mother lets on that during her birthing, she had hip dysplasia, causing her unimaginable pain and to this day, 16 years hence, her mobility is impaired. When Amal was 4, she was diagnosed by doctors as having a speaking disorder that required her to undergo speech therapy classes.

As the violence in Syria escalated, Amal’s father became a victim of the conflict and now at age 16, Amal has already been displaced 3 times. In spite of her arduous journey, one thing that stands out about her is her extreme talent and passion towards painting.

Amal says through her mother that she dreams of getting the hip surgery and walk without assistance or pain and wants to go to the university to further her education.

Amal, being incapable of speaking to express herself, uses her drawings as an outlet to her feelings, markedly when the violence intensified, and she has had to flee her dwelling in the past due to it. Her talent at drawing faces is immense and there are many drawings that line the walls of her room.

Her mother, Fatima, says, “I first noticed her skill when she reproduced illustrations given to her by her speech doctor to teach her the correct pronunciation of objects. Even though she struggled to pronounce the words, her drawings were amazing.”

Amal who was very close to her father, was severely impacted when he died as a victim of the mindless war that is raging in Syria. Her father would spend a lot of time with her and always encourage her art, bringing her art materials and educational toys.

A few months ago, her family discovered that Amal’s speech disorder was not what it was. Actually she suffered from hearing impairment. Her mother rues this fact, saying that 15 years of her life had gone down the drain.

Despite this, after a handsome contribution by Luxembourg, Amal along with her family have benefited from UNICEF’s cash for disabilities program. Under the aegis of this program, there is monthly cash assistance for the families that have a disabled child. Because of this wonderful program, Amal’s mother bought her hearing aids.

Amal’s older sister Hiba mentions that there has been marked improvement in Amal, with her pronouncing sounds and words correctly for the very first time in her life.

Because she could not keep up with her fellow students, Amal had dropped out of school at an early age. But now, after she got the correct diagnosis and equipped with hearing aids, Amal is going to a community education center to come up to the mark with her studies.

Hiba has created a Facebook page where Amal posts her drawings and she is getting a lot of support from the netizens around the world. She even entertains requests for commissioned portraits!

Even as Amal is slowly coming into her own and out of her shell, she still suffers from lack of mobility and the artificial joint implant she requires s beyond the family’s means. We hope by taking Amal’s story to the world, she gets assistance in this regard and a talented life flourishes.

Image Source: UNICEF

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