More than five years of conflict in Syria has killed more than 250,000 people, displaced over 11 million people from their homes, caused over 1 million injuries, and left more than 1.5 million people with permanent disabilities. Shahd (pictured above), Majida (pictured right), and Nagham are three young girls who have been physically disabled as a result of barrel bomb and aerial shelling in civilian areas. All three girls lost limbs and family members in these attacks, leaving physical and emotional scars in need of comprehensive healing.
Relief International and International Pitying Hearts Society (IPHS), a local NGO based in Turkey, work through the Will Steps Rehabilitation Centre in Gaziantep to restore the full mobility and psychological well-being of the countless victims affected by these tragic attacks. Created by RI and IPHS with funding from the European Commission on Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO), each month the Centre provides approximately 35 Syrian refugees with inclusive rehabilitation services. This includes free, high-quality prosthetic limbs, physical therapy and psychological support. The main aim of the Centre is to provide patients with high-quality prosthetic limbs that help them advance their autonomy, dignity and mobility.
With the unrelenting violence, the waiting list continues to grow. Currently there are more than 700 people on the Centre’s waiting list, including women and children. With increased funding, the Centre has the capacity to support 60 patients each month. In addition to the restorative care provided for patients and their families, the Centre is also providing job training opportunities for community members to learn how to produce these high-quality prostheses. With the workshop housed in the same facility as the Centre, each prosthesis is custom-designed for the patient and lasts for a minimum of two years.
This is the first physical and psychosocial rehabilitation program RI has supported in Turkey; however, since August 2015, in partnership with UNICEF, RI has been supporting an education and psychosocial support program for Syria refugee children and adolescents. To this end, RI is committed to a harmonized approach to health and education, a synergistic approach which affects change for both individuals and communities.