By Melanie Sharpe
After her family’s home was destroyed in Aleppo, six-year-old Safa fled to rural Damascus with her parents, grandmother and five sisters. While sheltering in an abandoned farmhouse the family was caught in an attack that left Safa gravely injured – she lost her right leg and suffered burns and shrapnel wounds.
Safa and her family now live in Za’atari refugee camp in northern Jordan. She attends one of the UNICEF supported schools every morning and a child friendly space in the afternoon. Life will never be the same for Safa or her family, but they are doing their best to regain some sort of normalcy.
This is a typical day for Safa in Za’atari camp.
Images ©UNICEF/Jordan-2013/Shehzad Noorani
Every morning Safa’s dad Ahmed walks his four school aged daughters to school. They leave their caravan at 7:30AM to ensure they are on time for class which begins at 8am. Here Ahmed is with nine-year-old Aya and pushes Safa in a wheelchair the family received from the NGO Handicap International. Ahmed and his wife Fatima say their most important priority right now is ensuring their daughters are educated.
Safa holds a text book in her grade one class in Za’atari.
Safa’s grade one teacher Miss Abeer helps her write letters and numbers in her workbook at school.
After school Safa returns to her family’s caravan and practises walking with her new crutches with the support of a physiotherapist from the NGO Handicap International. The physiotherapist visits Safa regularly and the little girl can now walk back and forth in her family’s caravan with the crutches. Handicap International has also measured Safa for a prosthetic leg which she should receive soon.
Safa’s dad Ahmed carries his daughter as they leave their caravan to go to the UNICEF/Save the Children child friendly space. Ahmed fled Syria with his wife, elderly mother and six daughters all below the age of 10. “I love my girls so much,” he says. “I’m not with any side. What’s the fault of our daughters? They’re not guilty. Why would this happen?” he says.
Safa plays with children at a child friendly space. Every afternoon Safa and her sisters attend the safe spaces where they play and socialize with other children and receive psychosocial support to help address the emotional wounds of living through war.
After finishing at the child friendly space Safa and her sisters return back to the family’s caravan. Here she is with her twin sister Marwa (on the left) and nine-year-old Aya. Safa, her six sisters, parents and grandmother all live and sleep in the same one-room caravan. ©UNICEF/Jordan-2013/Shehzad Noorani
Six-year-old Safa and her family in their caravan in Za’atari (from left to right) four-year-old Mona, father Ahmed, six-year-old twins Safa and Marwa, ten-year-old Wardeh, nine-year-old Aya, grandmother Wardeh, one-year-old Isra’a and mother Fatima. ©UNICEF/Jordan-2013/Shehzad Noorani