Photo credit: Handicap International

Photo credit: Handicap International


In June 2013, five year old Safa was seriously injured in a bombing raid in Syria which resulted in the amputation of her right leg, prompting her family to flee the fighting and take refuge in Jordan. Once safely in Za’atari Camp, Safa was able to take part in rehabilitation sessions provided by Handicap International (HI), which helped to strengthen her muscles and improve her balance. She also received a wheelchair to help her get around. But the biggest change of all came in December 2013 when HI fitted Safa, who loves to dance, for a prosthetic leg. With fierce determination and the help and support of her family, she learned to walk using her prosthesis. And if she could walk, she could dance!

The family eventually moved out of Za’atari Camp into a small apartment. Ahmed has found work in a local grocery shop, but he barely earns enough to pay the rent and feed his family. "I make 200 dinars a month and the rent alone is 150 dinars," he explains. Living so close to the margins means that was it not for HI’s assistance, it is very unlikely that Safa’s family would be able to afford for her to see a doctor, much less afford the expensive prosthetics and specialist care she needs. 

Earlier this year, Ahmed got back in touch with HI. Safa was using her prosthesis less and less as it had become uncomfortable. Amer Al Dakkak, a Handicap International physiotherapist specialized in prosthesis and orthotics explains, "This is inevitable in children at Safa’s age who have been fitted when they were very young. Their bodies grow and the prosthesis needs to be adjusted to avoid causing pain or having any long-term impact on how they walk." 

Today Safa is attending a new appointment with the team, "We have already made some adjustments to the socket for the prosthesis into which the amputated limb is fitted. We want to see how Safa is getting on with these modifications" says Amer. 

Photo credit: Handicap International

Photo credit: Handicap International

After watching Safa take a few steps with her prosthesis, Amer and the prosthetic technician agree that she will need a new prosthesis. "We are going to take some measurements. In order to do this we make a plaster cast which is used as the model to make the new prosthesis. It will be ready in two weeks, in time for the next orthopedic workshop," explains Amer. "We will continue Safa’s follow up for another three to six months. We will keep adjusting her prosthesis as required. There are no set deadlines. We do not adapt a prosthesis because we have reached a specific date.  We change it because it is no longer fit for purpose," he concludes. 

Safa and Ahmed are delighted with the news, "Safa loves Indian music, but most of all she likes to dance to Indian music!" reveals her father who dreams that his children might one day be able to play without a care in the world, in a country that is at peace.  

Until that day, thanks to HI, Safa will keep dancing.


Sector: Health
Project Name: Emergency intervention for the most vulnerable people affected by the Syrian crisis in Jordan- DFID 2015 – Phase 4
JRP Specific Objective: REF 1: Equitable access, uptake and quality of primary healthcare for Syrian WGBM as well as vulnerable Jordanian populations in highly impacted areas
Project budget: USD 1.6 million
Project duration: 6 months
Financing agency: DFID
Implementing partner: Handicap International