Kamel is Syrian. Last year, the 25-year-old was injured in a bombing raid. After a long stay in hospital, the young farmer is now living in the Zaatari camp in Jordan. Handicap International is helping him to recover from his injuries by teaching him how to adapt to his new life in a wheelchair.
When you meet Kamel, the first thing you notice is his huge smile and communicative good nature. The wheelchair is a mere detail, both for the young Syrian and for those who meet him. “With or without the wheelchair, I just get on with things,” he explains happily. “I live the life I have been given, that’s all. I’m not angry, I don’t hate anything or anyone. I accept my fate. I’m just grateful for what God has decided for me.”
Kamel has lived through five years of war, but nothing seems to dent his optimism. Not even when he lost the use of his legs, last year. “I was hit by a bomb. I immediately lost consciousness. I woke up at the hospital in Jordan. The doctors told me I had shell shrapnel between two vertebrae, but that I would probably be able to walk again in six months to one year. One year later I still cannot walk. I get it, that’s life. There is no point getting upset. I just get on with things.”
Kamel has been followed by Handicap International since he arrived at the Zaatari camp. “We gave him several mobility aids and a wheelchair, to help him get about,” explains Farah, one of the organisation’s physiotherapists. “We also see him on a regularl basis for physiotherapy sessions, with the aim of helping him get around independently.” As the session draws to an end, Kamel admits, “I am very happy here in the camp, but of course if peace returns to Syria, we would all like to go back home. Not just me. You could come and visit us there if you want!”