Between helpfulness and economic crisis

Lebanon seethes

Ammar was born in Lebanon, his family fled from Syria. His father worked there as a tiler, but since his family is in Lebanon, he’ll take on any job to feed his wife and children. He currently works as a day labourer on a construction site while his wife takes care of Ammar and his two sisters. As a family of five they live in one single room. They can’t afford anything bigger as one and half years old Ammar is sick. He suffers from Methylmalonic acidemia (MMA) – a congenital metabolic disease which, among other things, can lead to an enormous learning delay and, if left untreated, to permanent, life-threatening damage. The parents care touchingly for their son and instead of looking for a large and more expensive apartment they pay his physicians, diagnoses and medicals. “There is hardly any works”, says Ammar’s father, “and the money I make is now worth less after the crisis.”

Lebanon is deep in an economic crisis. Since October 2019 the Lebanese people protest against the current regime of the country. They accuse them of mismanagement, corruption and being at fault for the economic crisis. Especially the refugees suffer due to the crisis. Compared to its population Lebanon has taken on the most refugees. In the course of the economic crisis, the country’s initial willingness to help has also led to growing resentment among the Lebanese population against the Syrian refugees. Many Lebanese want to see a return of the Syrian refugees to their home country. The few jobs that are still vacant in the country are rarely given to refugees. The displaced persons suffer from this, but a return to Syria, even if this is the wish of most of them, is not possible at the moment.

Ammar’s dad is glad that he at least has a job and he and his family are not totally reliant on outside help. Little Ammar meanwhile is part of our project for refugee children with disabilities. When he came to us, he couldn’t sit, crawl or grab anything without assistance. He couldn’t prop up his head on his own or speak. Since then he sits without crutches in our physiotherapy. He can lift his head. He reacts to speech. He’s been crawling and with a bit of help he’s been walking for a couple of days. He reaches for our hands. At some point he will have made up for his delay. Then hopefully he’ll lead a peaceful life. And while he is working with our physiotherapists on a better future for himself, his family has some time to take care of work and Ammar’s siblings.