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Step Forward aims to shine a light on the plight of an estimated 30,000 Syrian amputees whose conditions have resulted from the conflict. In addition to the loss and trauma that comes from being in the midst of a war situation, amputee victims are additionally burdened with facing a life of complete dependence, leading to the vast majority experiencing extreme feelings of depression and worthlessness. Tragically, many of these victims are infants and children.
Syria Relief, with our partners Syrian British Medical Society (SBMS), Every Syrian, and Syrian Expatriates Medical Association (SEMA) has been helping wounded civilians to regain their mobility and rebuild their lives since early 2013, through the National Syrian Project for Prosthetic Limbs (NSPPL). The state of the art limbs fitted have enabled the vast majority of our patients to resume their lives once again and to work and play. We have successfully fitted over 1,000 prosthetic limbs on patients ranging from 9 months to 85 years old.
With your support, we hope to raise the much-needed funds to ensure that our hugely successful and in demand prosthetic limb clinics will remain fully functional for another year and continue to provide a high quality full care package from pre-op to aftercare free of charge.
Until they can walk out of our clinics by themselves, ‘standing on their own two feet’, we don’t want to have to send back a single amputee who comes through our doors.
Step by Step
Our target goal of £162,000 will:
- Cover all running costs and materials for our current Prosthetic Limb clinics for a whole year (£120,000)
- Enable us to open an urgently needed Prosthetic Limb clinic for Syrian refugees in Lebanon
We need just a little over 1,000 people to commit to the equivalent of that monthly pizza treat or weekly cup of coffee from their favourite café to make an immeasurable difference to so many.
Please, set up a monthly standing order for £10, and encourage two members of your family and friends to do the same to provide the best gift imaginable. Together, we will reach our target.
Abdul was travelling from Damascus to Idlib in a truck full of men women and children when shooting broke out. Bullets flew close by as he and his companions tried to race away. He described the moment as feeling like being in an action movie, ‘I was in an emotional vortex. It was the first time I’d seen and heard gunshots and machine gun fire so I was so scared, I didn’t know what to do or what to feel’. Abdul was shot in the leg. He recalls, ‘At that moment, I thought to myself that maybe my life would end soon’.
Abdul’s leg was badly injured and upon receiving some basic treatment, he was moved back to his village. Limited medical care in Syria meant his treatment was inadequate so his family arranged for him to cross the border into Turkey. Abdul was treated at local hospitals in Reyhanli, Antakya and Ankara. Bedridden for a month and a half, this was incredibly frustrating for the once very active Abdul.
Abdul’s leg became infected and spread to above his knee. His brother Ahmed broke it to him gently that his leg would have to be amputated. Abdul says, “I wanted to cry and scream but I didn’t do anything”. Instead he took a picture of his leg on the phone as a final memory of what it felt like to be a whole human being.
He awoke from his operation in a haze unable to remember what had happened. He looked at the sheet covering his leg and asked his brother to remove it. What remained of his legs filled him with a mixture of anger, disappointment and grief. He says, “I didn’t know how to prepare myself for the next stage of my life.”
One of the first patients to come to our centre to be treated, Abdul’s measurements were taken and a limb constructed. Abdul then learned to walk on his new leg. From his initial prediction of a life without hope, once again he was able to look forward to a brighter future. We are delighted that he has has gained mobility and is now working at the office and reception in the centre, helping others to rebuild their lives. Not only that, but his brother Ahmed is employed in the centre too!
11 year old Elias Wudi was with his friends when a cluster bomb fell in the park they were playing in. In just an instant, Elias lost one of his legs.
His father, determined to find a way to help his son, came across The National Syrian Project for Prosthetic Limbs. Elias had his measurements taken and then an artificial leg was made for him, enabling Elias to take his first few steps. He has now become confident with the limbs, thanks to the dedicated and encouraging staff who coached him on how to walk again.
With a happy smile on his face, Elias says about his new leg, “It is very good, especially because they’ve worked on the leg very well.”