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Seriously wounded in an air attack, Hala gradually resumes her life's journey

Explosive weapons Rehabilitation

Hala, 4 years old, has only one leg left. She is one of the recent victims of the bombings that are devastating her country, Yemen, just like her cousin, Erada, 8, who was playing with her when a plane dropped a shell on their neighbourhood while they were playing in front of their home.

Four-year-old Hala was hit by a shell while playing in front of her home

Four-year-old Hala was hit by a shell while playing in front of her home | © ISNA Agency / HI

The HI team met them at a hospital in Sana'a. Hala and Erada had just received emergency surgical care and had one leg amputated to get their lives safe. Their family, completely devastated and destitute, had fortunately been able to count on the solidarity of the other patients in the hospital to be able to access medicines and feed for the two cousins in a state of shock. Erada was constantly wondering about the absence of her cousin’s leg and of her own one. As for Hala, sad, frustrated and deeply traumatized, she cried all the time. 

The HI team immediately mobilized for helping them. Hala first attended psychosocial support sessions and received physiotherapy care. He was provided with a walker and crutches to help her get up. Her relatives were also informed about the nursing and hygienic care related to amputation and trained to be able to take care of her on a daily basis.

Her mother understood immediately the importance of rehabilitation exercises for a quick return to mobility: "At first, Hala couldn't walk," she explains. "However, the HI team immediately provided her with crutches and patiently made her do her exercises. They needed a lot of patience! And now she is just learning how to walk with her new prosthesis! She exhausted everyone during the process but she finally got back on her feet. She made a lot of progress."

"When I met her, Hala was sad. She almost always cried. She was afraid of people and even of other children," explains one of the members of the HI team, who took great care of the little girl. "We accompanied her, then gradually included her in activities for children. She started interacting with others and talking with them, exchanging toys. It took many months to do this.... Then we made her prosthesis. We are now teaching her to use it correctly, to familiarize herself with it, I should say... because at first Hala was afraid of it, which was very stressful for her. She categorically refused to walk with it. But since she loves balloons, we found a subterfuge to get her to walk using dozens of small balloons!"

Things are not yet easy for the young Hala. When she comes to the Sana'a Rehabilitation Centre, she is often shy with others. She has difficulties expressing her emotions and she is still very affected by this tragedy. For example, she sometimes stares at other children and the way they move, then tries to touch their legs. Once she asked her mother to put nail polish on her. She's probably asking herself a lot of questions.

But, one year after this tragedy, Hala, with all his victories, is gradually smiling again. And that's what matters most to his mother: "I thank the members of the HI team.  I really appreciate what they do for us. They transform my daughter's life and help her to overcome all the difficulties and accept her disability," she confides to us. 

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Fatou Thiam




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