Photo Credit: IOM/Muse Mohammed
In a small two bedroom apartment in one of the known refugee neighbourhoods of Salinufra lives Mustapha, Shama and their three daughters. Living in Turkey since June 2015, they are among the millions of Syrian refugees in Turkey.
Before fleeing Syria, they were living in their hometown of Homs during the war under the constant threat of being bombed. “It was two years ago when it happened. We were in our house when one of the planes circling our neighbourhood dropped bombs on us again. One of them hit close to our home and the explosion ripped through our house,” says Mustapha. “One of the shrapnel came through and punctured our hot water tank spilling boiling water on my daughter Saca. She suffered from third degree burns on her back and legs.”
Searching for medical treatment in Homs was a challenge but the family managed to get Saca initial treatment for her burns but she required several follow up treatments. When she was on the road to recovery she got an infection on her back due to poorly sterilized medical tools. It got so bad that she would cry from her being so sensitive to heat and ash from the constant bombing.
Eventually, Mustapha managed to send her and Shama to Lebanon to seek further treatment. Over the course of six months Shama searched endlessly for doctors while Mustapha continued to provide money and support from inside Syria. “She searched everywhere but the treatment over there was going to cost USD 13,000 and we simply don’t have that kind of money so they had to come back,” he says.
With no more options, the family decided to move to Turkey where Mustapha travelled nearly 100km on foot into Turkey to try and make all of the arrangements for his family’s safe travels into Turkey. While in Salinufra, Mustapha worked at a restaurant to make ends meet while Shama continued to look for treatment for Saca.
One day, the family’s case was referred to IOM and following their first assessment Mustapha initially had little hope for receiving any assistance for her daughter’s condition. Their hopes were renewed, however, after receiving a specialized silicon pressure garment for Saca just a few days after their visit. “I was completely shocked. After searching high and low for help with so many failed attempts reaching out to others for help, I thought this would be no different.”
The garment costs around USD 2,700 and works by applying continuous pressure to help prevent the thickening and hardening of scars.
After sometime Mustapha requested a resized garment to fit Saca as she grows and was relieved to have received a newly fitted one days later. “She’s completely changed, you can see it in her face now,” he says.
Even though she’s is recovering from her injuries she still suffers from flashbacks and nightmares from the event. “She has a long way to go but I am just glad that she is getting there, our prayers have been answered.”