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I met Aya, a young Syrian refugee, earlier this year during my work as a Red Cross nurse.
I’ve been working in Beirut, Lebanon, for four months now. I’m part of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) health team based at Rafik Hariri University Hospital, the largest public hospital in Lebanon. Our job is to give the best possible care and assistance to people in need who are unable to financially cover their treatment.
The large majority of our patients are Syrian refugees, like young Aya.
Aya and her family escaped from Syria to Lebanon in 2011, at the start of the war. The family was fortunate – they were offered a home and work on a Lebanese farmer’s chicken farm.
However, in February this year, Aya caught her hand in a machine. She lost three of her fingers and part of her palm.
Because her family could not afford treatment, she was turned away by four hospitals before she was accepted by the ICRC at Rafik Hariri University Hospital, 10 hours after the accident.
During her admission, Aya had multiple surgeries to repair her hand. She was traumatised by this experience and required ongoing care.
Aya was cared for by an incredible interdisciplinary team, made up of doctors, nurses, psychologists and physios. We even had clowns, compliments of the hospital’s paediatric ward! Over the weeks that followed, thanks to the team’s hard work, Aya started to smile again.
Today she can draw and write with her injured hand – nothing is stopping her. When she grows up, she wants to be a doctor so she can help other children like her. For me, this is a real success story and this is what working with Red Cross is about.