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European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations
2 February 2024

Strength amidst adversity: supporting vulnerable families in Syria

In the heart of Al Qusayr, Homs City in Syria, a resilient family clings to their home despite its battered state, a stark reminder of the ongoing 12-year-long Syrian crisis. Rabiea, a devoted mother, faces the daunting task of caring for her beloved daughter, Momena, who battles cerebral palsy and physical disabilities.

Yet, her struggles don't end with Momena. Rabiea's sister, Yousra, too, bears the scars of the Syrian crisis – a stroke that left her with physical disabilities. The emotional strain and stress have taken a toll on Rabiea's health, manifesting as hypertension. With the little resources available, her prescribed daily medication became a luxury.

Ammar, the family's 24 year old primary breadwinner, not only shoulders the responsibility of his work outside but also takes on the role of caregiver for his mother, aunt, and sister.

In this challenging environment, the EU and Medair provided essential support. Momena received a supportive wheelchair, a tool that not only helps her move but also addresses her scoliosis. The family is provided with essential items, including therapeutic beds, hygiene kits, and mobility aids.

The impact is profound. Momena, now in her wheelchair, regained a sense of independence, Rabiea learned to walk again with a rollator, while Yousra revels in the comfort of a proper bed with therapeutic pillows and a special hygiene kit.

Medair's health team stands at the doorstep of what’s left of Rabiea's home. Rabiea is pointing towards some damage.
Medair's health team stands at the doorstep of what’s left of Rabiea's home. Hers is a resilient family who went through the intense fighting that hit the city of Homs at the peak of the Syrian Civil war.
© Medair
Health workers next to Rabiea holding on to her rollator.
During the Syria crisis and amid severe financial problems, Rabiea developed hypertension, but she could not afford treatment and a stroke had left her unable to walk alone. "This rollator is suitable to her health condition," says Jihad.
© Medair
Rabiea sitting on a chair while a health worker hands her a hygiene pack.
With EU funding, Medair distributed 1,115 assistive devices and special hygiene kits to 565 people with disabilities in Homs. The kits contain diapers, regeneration ointment, gauze, wet tissues. Rabiea and her family are among the recipients of such aid.
© Medair
Yousra sitting on a coach with a blanket over her legs.
Yousra (65) is Rabiea’s sister. She too had a stroke during the Syrian crisis and can't walk alone anymore. The Medair health team provided her with a special bed, an ad hoc toilet seat and rollator to assist her in moving and walking.
© Medair
Rabiea and Momena in the living room.
“The sight of my cherished daughter, Momena (35), who suffers from physical limitations, takes a toll on my well-being. Realizing that you cannot help your beloved people makes you feel helpless,” says Rabiea. Momena received aid too.
© Medair
Health workers taking care of Momena.
“Our lucky day – God sent you as a gift. My daughter used to crawl just to get water or wash her hands,” said Rabiea, Momena's grateful mother.
© Medair
Momena seated in her wheelchair talking to a health worker.
Momena effortlessly navigates her new wheelchair, granting her independence and the freedom to pursue her beloved hobby of repairing mobile phones. She now gathers the necessary tools from various locations with ease.
© Medair

Story by Medair

Photos: © Medair

Publication date: 02/02/2024