Even in a multi-challenging situation We can still do it!
Ahmad, aged nine, lives with his family within the confines of the Gaza Strip. He was born with a rare genetic syndrome that prevented him from walking and he started to show signs of developmental delay at the age of one year and six months.
After a long journey, trying to get an accurate diagnosis for their son, they met Dr.Waddah Malhees, our Medical Director, who referred Ahmad to the Jerusalem Princess Basma Centre. However, because of the political situation, Ahmad could not leave Gaza immediately. It was a whole year before he was able to reach our Rehabilitation Centre for the first time in 2017.
People with disabilities in Gaza face multiple challenges, which are amplified within this geographical area because of the struggle to access appropriate services, either because of location or cost.
Ahmad’s mother believes that his situation would have vastly improved if he had been diagnosed earlier and received his therapies at the right time. “We spent more than 4 years trying to understand Ahmad’s case and to start receiving treatment. During that time Ahmad’s condition started to decline.”
During his first referral to our Jerusalem base in 2017, Ahmad received a residential package of comprehensive and intensive rehabilitation for three weeks. He was accompanied by his mother, who was enrolled on the ‘Mother and Family Empower Program’ and given training and education in how best to support her son. They left with a ‘Home Therapy Plan,’ which later proved to be his only access to therapy and treatment. Ahmad and his mother were not granted permission to return from Gaza to our Centre after that.
His mother explains: “The ‘Home Therapy Plan’ was the only resource I had. Because I had been trained at the Basma Centre, I kept implementing it and developing it as much as I can, and thank God, Ahmad is responding. At least his condition is not getting worse.”
Nearly four years later, therapists were able to reach Ahmad and his family online, and they are now enrolled in our ‘Virtual Therapy Program’, which provides treatment for Palestinian children and ongoing support and guidance for their families in their own environment. His mother explains; “This program has brought hope back to our family because Ahmad needed intervention and follow-up by a professional team.”
Unfortunately, because of the financial challenges and movement restrictions that Ahmad and his family increasingly face, he is still not able to join a school. However, his family have been creative and determined in implementing his ‘Home Therapy Plan’ and now in our ‘Virtual Therapy Program’ Ahmad is making good progress. He has now started to walk using the stairs and jump on the trampoline!
Whilst these online therapy, support and medical assessments continue, hope is growing within Ahmad’s home. His mother wanted to tell us, “These online sessions have met Ahmad’s needs and given him, and us as a family, support and encouragement. This will surely empower us and guide us towards a better future for our son.”