Goto main content

Sisters share experiences as refugees with disabilities in Lebanon

Health Rehabilitation
Lebanon

Sidra and Marwa are from Syria, they are sister and found refuge in a camp near Beirut, Lebanon. They both have a disability, which create daily challenges for them. They received physiotherapy care from Humanity & Inclusion.

Marwa during a physiotherapy session.

Marwa during a physiotherapy session. | © HI

Sidra and Marwa need physiotherapy to ease the pain and improve their mobility. It is key to make their daily lives easier and to go to school.

Sidra, 15, and Marwa, 16, live with their family of seven in a tent in the Faida Camp for Syrian refugees, in Bekaa, Lebanon. They fled from Syria in 2011, just at the beginning of the war.

Sidra has cerebral palsy and Marwa has scoliosis. Both disabilities cause pain and make it difficult for the sisters to walk and to move.

Physiotherapy to ease the pain and improve mobility  

Sidra and Marwa received physiotherapy treatment at the Mousawat Rehabilitation Centre, operated by Humanity & Inclusion (HI)’s partner, to improve their walking and balance, and strengthen their muscles. Rehabilitation will eventually reduce their pain and improve their daily lives.

The sessions consist of active exercises for lower and upper limbs with the use of weights. They also do abdominal and bridge exercises to strengthen their back muscles, and use the treadmill and bicycle. These exercises have a psychological effect: to regain physical strength and ability is the first step to regain self-esteem and combat anxiety.

Being a teenager with a disability and a refugee

Sidra’s disability creates challenges to complete many activities that require physical movement, such as rolling and changing her position in bed, sitting, bathing, walking, and playing. Stumbling and falling regularly has prevented Sidra from performing daily basic chores and caused her to feel embarrassed. Sidra experiences low self-esteem from the stress and social isolation caused by her disability.

Marwa’s scoliosis affects her physical and social functioning in a similar way. Marwa has experienced several accidents. For instance, she once lost her balance and broke a knee while playing. The injury limited her movement for months, and caused her distress and anxiety.

“I had a fear that my health situation wouldn’t improve before the school reopened, and would have to walk with a limp in front of students,” Marwa says.

They both love playing with other children, but they experience bullying because of their disabilities.

To have a life like any teenager

By improving their mobility, physiotherapy sessions have helped the sisters feel more included at school. 

“I see my children happier and more excited about life than ever before, whether during daily life activities, helping out at home, learning, playing or even when leaving the house,” their mother says.

I hope when we are grown up we will be able find jobs and be able to help our family,” Marwa says.

Date published: 17/02/22

COUNTRIES

Where we work

Read more

Flore, a driver’s assistant with HI passionate about her job
© B. N. Lawson / HI
Health

Flore, a driver’s assistant with HI passionate about her job

Flore is responsible for ensuring the effective delivery of humanitarian supplies in Burkina Faso in a complicated security context. Portrait of a woman of commitment, passionate about her job.

The parent-child bond, crucial to the development of malnourished children
© Kadjara Diontol / HI
Health Rehabilitation

The parent-child bond, crucial to the development of malnourished children

Humanity & Inclusion's actions for malnourished children are based on the emotional bond between parents and children. Amina, mother of a baby who has benefited from these interventions, tells us about her experience.

Noor, walking her way back to life!
© A. Rahhal / HI
Emergency Rehabilitation

Noor, walking her way back to life!

Noor, aged 3, is a survivor of the earthquake that struck Turkey and north-west Syria in February 2023. HI is accompanying this vivacious and resilient little girl on the way to her refound life.

FOLLOW US