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My first steps in five years


Abed lost both of his legs in a mine accident in 2018 in Syria. Access to HI rehabilitation services has changed his life.

Abed at the market

Abed at the market | © HI

Five years without a prosthesis

During a visit to Deir Ez-Zor, North East Syria, HI’s mobile rehabilitation team saw a young man sitting outside his house. They approached him and learnt that both of his legs had been amputated below the knee after a landmine accident in January 2018.

Abed (not his real name), a father of two, was too poor to obtain the medical care he needed, as the cost of a prosthesis in a private centre was far too high. Nor could he afford rehabilitation services.

His disability was making basic activities such as washing up and dressing up difficult, and he was unable to find work.

Rehabilitation sessions 

Abed was invited to attend the rehabilitation services provided free-of-charge by HI at a nearby hospital. He did three initial physical therapy sessions before being referred to a prosthetic technician who took the measurements needed to make him a pair of prostheses tailored to his needs.

The team also offered Abed individual counselling sessions. At first, he was sceptical; he didn’t see the point in counselling. However, in his very first session, he was able to open up about his concerns and difficulties. The psychosocial worker and Ahmed continued working together to help him overcome his anxiety and negative thoughts, learn to cope with his situation and the physical pain and reconnect with his social support network. After a few months, he had regained his self-confidence.

Walking again

After 10 months of preparation, Abed was ready for his prostheses. He needed bilateral below-knee prostheses, suitable and comfortable enough for him to be autonomous.
After testing and making the necessary adjustments, the prosthetics team fitted him with his prostheses. The physical therapist then provided him with prosthetic gait training. He gradually gained confidence and today he is able to go about his daily activities without assistance.

“Five years after my accident, I feel like I‘ve been born again.”

Abed can now support his family by selling vegetables on the streets and is delighted to be able to ride his motorbike again. He has developed a very positive outlook on life. He feels as if he has been born again and now has endless possibilities.

“It feels wonderful that I can go to the market and buy food for my family.”

HI multidisciplinary rehabilitation activities in Deir Ez-Zor Governorate are funded by CDCS and GAC until December 2023.


Date published: 28/09/23


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