“Our state of mind reflects powerfully on our children”
The married couple, Razi and Wissam, had waited for a long time to become parents. There was much joy when they discovered that they were expecting twins, who they were to later name Ahmad and Layan.
It was a happy and healthy pregnancy. But nothing is guaranteed in life, and when life’s fortunes change and challenges await, perhaps the most valuable gifts we can nurture in ourselves are hope, faith, and fortitude.
Whilst Layan was born totally healthy, Ahmad suffered from a lack of oxygen at birth, which resulted in his diagnosis of cerebral palsy. Razi and Wissam felt their dreams for their young family had been shattered. Despite that, they decided to stand strong together.
They visited doctors and attended many medical checkups and assessments with Ahmad until they were referred to The Jerusalem Princess Basma Centre and Ahmad was enrolled in the residential comprehensive rehabilitation program. His father, Razi accompanied him to all his sessions and learned how to become a shadow therapist as part of the Mother and Family Empowerment Program, becoming one of the pioneering fathers taking part.
After recognizing Ahmad’s disability, as a new father, Razi had been ready to change all of his life plans and dreams. Given that his wife had not been granted a permit to enter Jerusalem, he had to be the one to travel with Ahmad through the checkpoints.
Razi talks about how he greatly benefitted from the Family Empowerment Program, especially from the ‘home plan’ which enabled him to continue the important rehabilitation exercises with his son when they returned home. He describes how this plan created a special partnership within his family; how he was able to teach his wife valuable skills and interventions as well as a positive ‘can do’ approach, to enable Ahmad to grow and fulfill his potential.
He adds passionately, “I believe that the main purpose of the Family Empowerment Program is to help the children in their treatment, rehabilitation, and integration, through us as parents. The consistent medical advice and psychosocial care we have received, has empowered us and given us a greater understanding of Ahmad’s condition.”
As a result of Ahmad’s 6 admissions and Razi’s participation in the Family Empowerment Program, Ahmad has made huge progress. The family continues to walk alongside him in this journey and work as a team to implement the home plan.
Their village community still doesn’t understand Razi’s decision to take the lead responsibility for Ahmad’s rehabilitation and care, given that people believe it is the mother’s role to take care of her children, especially if they have disabilities. But Razi thinks very differently. His main focus is Ahmad’s treatment and development:
“I hope that parents who have children with disabilities become more aware of their children’s rights. My wish for them is to become more confident and proud. People should not be reluctant to integrate their disabled children into society, because this is a very important step to encourage the child to socialize and move forward. One thing people have to understand…our state of mind reflects powerfully on our children.”
Razi is very encouraged by the improvements he sees in his son and attributes that to the inclusive vision and comprehensive care provided by the centre. “After each admission, I feel more empowered and my ambitions for Ahmad increase”.