Born with a physical disability in his left leg, Ahmed grew up in Aleppo where he worked with other handicapped people through education, advocacy and case work. “There were a lot of people who really did not understand what it meant to be handicapped. I remember working with a man who did not see daylight for years because his family was ashamed of his disability.”
“People who are disabled should not looked down upon. Quite the opposite really, you should encourage them to be successful in life despite of their condition.”
Ahmed’s condition worsened three years ago when a mortar landed near him when he was on the street with his newly wed wife at the time. The shrapnel from the mortar injured his good leg and he developed gonarthrosis (osteoarthritis of the knee). Following the incident Ahmed decided that it was time he and his family fled to Turkey.
Shortly after arriving in Salinufra, Ahmed struggled to find a job but his condition left him virtually immobile making employment nearly impossible. After sometime he did manage to find a job but struggled to maintain it due to his disability which resulted in him suffering from depression for a year. “It was so bad, I couldn’t walk at all. I felt completely useless to myself and my family.”
Eventually his case was referred to IOM who conducted an assessment on his condition and gave him a walking device for his injured leg that has enabled him to walk again. “It was absolutely incredible; this device really gave me power again. I now have the confidence I need to get through the day.”
Excited, Ahmed found a renewed hope in his life and managed find a job with the International Mercy Crops. “It’s a small start but things can only get better from here. You cannot imagine the joy I get from being able to provide for my family and still be able to buy some sweets on my way home for my little girl,” he beams.
Photo Credit: IOM/Muse Mohammed