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Noor, walking her way back to life!

Emergency Rehabilitation

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

Noor during a rehabilitation session she jumps on a little yellow car smiling at the camera at Aqrabat hospital, Humanity & Inclusion’s partner in Northwest Syria.

Noor during a rehabilitation session at Aqrabat hospital, Humanity & Inclusion’s partner in Northwest Syria. | © A. Rahhal / HI

Noor tugs on her physiotherapist's arm; she's in a hurry to get the rehabilitation room. She walks, falls over, gets up, runs, falls over again and gets up. Again. “Since she’s been able to walk again, there’s no stopping her”, says her step-mum.

Sometimes she moves so fast that you could forget that one of her legs is made of silicone, aluminium and resin. The sound of Noor’s purple velcro trainers stomping along the tiled floor echoes through the corridors of Aqrabat Hospital, HI's partner in north-west Syria, where she was first admitted in February 2023.

"When she was first admitted to hospital, her condition was so serious that we didn’t hold out much hope... we feared she wouldn't make it," recalls her step-mum.

Accepting care

This little Syrian girl was rescued in extremis from the rubble of her house. She had sustained extensive injuries to her whole body and part of her right leg had to be amputated. The medical teams at Aqrabat hospital describe a little girl who was "traumatised", in a "deplorable" psychological state; she wouldn’t let  adults near her. Humanity & Inclusion's partners developed a comprehensive care protocol for her, combining psychological support and rehabilitation. The first objective was for Noor to recover psychologically.

Smiling again

Once she was willing to accept treatment, the physiotherapists, doctors and psychologists slowly began rehabilitation exercises combined with recreational activities. Fatima, the physiotherapist who has been at Noor’s side since she was admitted to hospital over a year ago, explains:

"Noor gradually accepted our presence and after a while it was like we were part of her family because we went to see her several times a day... We spent a lot of time together, to the point where she would ask for us. Noor changed a lot during this period... She slowly started to come out of her torpor– and she started smiling again. That's what we’d been looking for!"

Objective : to walk !


After a long convalescence, Noor was able to go home to her stepfamily. "But there was still something lacking," says her step-mum:

"Noor spent her days just sitting there in the tent. She could see the other children going out to play, but she was stuck there because she couldn’t get around. She was really frustrated.”

For Fatima, her physical therapist, the aim was to get Noor walking again as quickly as possible, but first the wounds on her leg had heal completely:

"It's been just over a year now, and here we are: Noor is walking and her amputated limb has healed very well. We took her measurements and fitted her with the first prosthesis. Then we began training her to walk with it using a variety of methods - activities, games, and also showing her how other children did things. We tried everything to get good results."

Her step-mum remembers Noor's first steps with her prosthesis. Her entire family breathed a sigh of relief and happiness. Noor was showered with sweets and flowers and there was even a big party in her honour.

Noor still attends Aqrabat hospital's rehabilitation centre, Humanity & Inclusion's partner in North-West Syria, several times a month. And each time, Fatima sees the progress she has made:

"Her life has changed completely. Imagine what she's been through in the last year. Even her father tells us that at home, Noor plays, jokes and is really active. It's as if she has managed to come to terms with the disaster she's experienced and allowed herself to move on."

For Humanity & Inclusion's partners, Noor's story has made them even more motivated to work with people with disabilities and people who have suffered a major traumatic shock. Their priority is to work with them until their condition improves.

"With Noor, we never gave up hope; we kept working towards our objectives. And I'm so proud to see that we achieved them," says Fatima.


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