Haitham* lives in an internally displaced people (IDP) camp in northern Iraq. He is seven years old and has hydrocephalus. Because of this, his motor skills are significantly decreased, so simple daily activities such as getting up, walking, or going to the toilet are a big challenge for him.
About a year ago, Operation Mercy’s community-based rehabilitation team started doing weekly home visits to his family.
At first, he could neither walk without support nor keep his balance when standing upright.
During our first visits and talks with the family, we realized that the family had no hope that Haitham would ever improve. We encouraged them that the exercises would help him grow and improve his physical capabilities.
After about three months his family started to see progress.
They said “You were right! Through the treatment and the exercises, our son is truly improving. He’s now beginning to stand on both of his legs – all by himself!”
We continued our weekly follow-ups and continued to encourage Haitham and his family. Now Haitham stands without support, and he can walk three to four steps by himself. His balance has greatly improved as well.
Most of all we sense that Haitham now has hope stored in his heart that he did not have before. We can tell the difference in the way he interacts with us and with others in his surroundings. Haitham exudes joy and eagerly awaits our visits each week.
* Name changed