HomeNewsRima’s journey: Prosthetic provides Syrian new begin after February earthquake Receive US

Rima’s journey: Prosthetic provides Syrian new begin after February earthquake Receive US

Azaz, Syria – Along with her smile as vivid as ever, 15-year-old Rima Haj Hussein nervously walks into the Ataa Rehabilitation and Prosthetic Limb Centre for earthquake and struggle victims in Azaz, a city in northern Syria’s Aleppo governorate.

She lately celebrated passing her preparatory degree exams, and her delight in pushing by means of after dropping her leg within the huge earthquakes that hit southern Turkey and northern Syria six months in the past is obvious.

“When the examination outcomes had been introduced, I used to be particularly pleased that I fulfilled part of my father’s want for me. He all the time inspired me to proceed my schooling,” she mentioned.

Rima had spent two months in a hospital close to the Turkish border, asking her surviving household the place her father was.

“I requested again and again why he didn’t come to go to me within the hospital, and they might dodge the query, saying his well being situation prevented him from coming. Till I left the hospital and so they informed me … the shock of that second won’t ever go away me,” Rima mentioned, having realized that her father had died within the earthquakes.

Rima arrives on the Ataa Rehabilitation and Prosthetic Limb Centre in her wheelchair, hoping to obtain a brand new prosthetic after dropping her leg in February’s devastating earthquakes [Ali Haj Suleiman/Al Jazeera]

Fleeing into an earthquake zone

Rima and her household – initially from the town of Qalaat al-Madiq, northern Hama – had fled to opposition-controlled Jandaris within the Aleppo countryside in 2019 after Syrian authorities forces took management of their hometown.

A little bit greater than three years later, Jandaris was the Syrian metropolis most affected by the earthquakes, recording the very best Syrian demise toll of 513 fatalities and 831 wounded, based on the Syria Civil Defence. Greater than 8,400 individuals died in Syria, with one other 50,000 dying in Turkey.

When the earthquake affecting Rima hit within the early hours of February 6, she and her household weren’t capable of open their condominium door in time and located themselves buried within the rubble when the constructing collapsed.

“After 30 hours of concern, buried beneath the rubble of our dwelling, surrounded by neighbours who died, the rescue groups and my uncles managed to discover a passage by means of the rubble and reached me,” she mentioned.

Rima informed Al Jazeera how the rescue groups and her uncles tried each attainable solution to extract her from beneath the rubble, however they had been unable to on account of her leg, which was trapped. Finally, a medical workforce needed to amputate her leg earlier than she may very well be freed.

“I had two decisions: both lose my life beneath the rubble or lose my leg. I selected to lose my leg,” Rima mentioned.

After she was lastly capable of go away the hospital and nonetheless reeling from the information about her father’s demise, Rima had to return in for one more surgical procedure, this time to take away her gallbladder.

And but, she managed to assemble her energy and examine for her exams, which had been solely 10 days away, whereas the workforce on the Ataa centre labored to create a bespoke prosthetic for her.

“Rima’s resilience, in addition to her dedication to proceed her research and take the examination, had been an important supply of inspiration for all of us throughout this era,” mentioned Khalid Haj Hussein, 54, Rima’s uncle and a arithmetic trainer.

Haj Hussein informed Al Jazeera that Rima had talked typically of eager to grow to be a physician, particularly whereas she was within the hospital, so he devoted himself to tutoring her on arithmetic for the examination and requested his colleagues to assist her with different topics.

“The enjoyment and delight I felt when my niece Rima succeeded had been past something I had skilled throughout my 33 years of instructing. She achieved the unattainable,” he mentioned.

A technician working on a prosthetic leg on a workbench
The Ataa centre has been capable of match prosthetic limbs for 30 earthquake victims since February [Ali Haj Suleiman/Al Jazeera]

Standing tall once more

Rima’s reddened eyes mirror a sleepless night time of tension and anticipation, however her pleasure is obvious as she places on her prosthetic leg and tries it out for the primary time.

“Travelling forwards and backwards to Azaz wasn’t simple, however we did it for this second, as a result of she has been eagerly trying ahead to standing as soon as once more,” mentioned Haj Hussein.

“Her pleasure is overwhelming, and he or she retains telling me that she’s going to quickly stand like everybody else and pursue her dream of changing into a physician, simply as her father needed.”

Rima tries on her new leg as her doctor observes
The trouble to make Rima’s prosthetic was slowed by the dearth of superior gear [Ali Haj Suleiman/Al Jazeera]

One of many individuals who labored on Rima’s case is Ahmed Hashem, social tasks coordinator at Ataa. Whereas the centre suffers from a scarcity of funding and shortage of supplies, he mentioned, it was essential to them to get as many Syrian amputees as attainable fitted with the prosthetics they want.

Hashem informed Al Jazeera that the centre has been capable of match prosthetic limbs for 30 earthquake victims who registered by means of the centre’s hyperlink for individuals who misplaced their higher or decrease limbs.

The becoming course of is a painstaking one made trickier by the dearth of superior modelling know-how, leaving the workforce to depend on medical remark and measurement and making cautious moulds by hand.

“The rise in amputations within the area after the earthquake has put immense strain on the centre, making it difficult to safe prosthetic limbs for all of the injured,” mentioned Hashem.

“We hope that with time, we are able to discover what we have to make prosthetics for all of the injured and increase our work to incorporate becoming sensible and mechanical prosthetics,” Hashem added.

Earlier than the Syria-Turkey earthquakes, the variety of Syrian amputees was documented at 86,000 in 2017, based on the World Well being Group, whose report mentioned that the watch for assist then was already a protracted one. Along with these figures are the Syrians who reside with everlasting disabilities, who quantity at the least 1.5 million individuals.

However for in the future, there’s pleasure in a single family as Rima, beaming, walks out of Ataa centre after arriving in her wheelchair – taking her first steps on her model new leg, striding ahead to her subsequent problem.

Rima walking out of the Staa Center
Rima – proud of the match of her new prosthetic – strides out of the Ataa Rehabilitation and Prosthetic Limb Centre along with her uncle [Ali Haj Suleiman/Al Jazeera]

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