- Art THerapy
Adnan Mohammed & Humam Nidal
Adnan and Humam are cousins who due to their shared experience have become inseparable. They were playing football a group of friends when a rocket exploded amongst them and many of their friends were killed and others had limbs amputated. The devastation of that day lives with them constantly. They always talk of one of their friends who lost a leg, how good he was at football and how they all looked up to him. They fear that the same thing will happen again at any time and they often unconsciously begin to cry. Through the psychological support they have received at the centre they have been able to take part in group activities once again and are responding to the peer support and art therapy run by ADT staff.
Bara’a Al Bitar
Bara’a was severely traumatised when he was seen by the psychiatrist from the Sir Bobby Charlton Centre for Support and Rehabilitation in Amman, Jordan. His family had fled Syria when his grandparents had been killed during a bombing raid which destroyed their family home. Bara’a had repeated events and images in his mind of the continuous bombing raids on his town and suffered greatly from the loss of his grandfather and grandmother. Along with his elder sister, who was also badly traumatised, they received support through the Asia Development Training therapists and took part in sports and art activities. Bara’a has responded well to the art therapy and is able to express some of his fears and experiences through his paintings. The programme is building on his self confidence and he is now able to take part in group activities, something he previously avoided.
Batoul Al Bitar
Batoul’s family stayed longer than many of their neighbours in their town and they had only fled to Jordan when their house was bombed and her grandparents were killed. Batoul was still in severe shock when she arrived in Za’atari camp. She would describe the chaos in which they had been surrounded yet she could not express the feeling inside her. In her mind she screamed when she heard to sounds of bombs and missiles, but no noise came from mouth. She felt the personal problems of her family and the trauma they had all experienced, the displacement and emotional alienation which caused further family problems. Batoul has found that the being able to express herself through the paintings has helped her release some of the anger she holds inside her. She has gradually found herself integrating with others in the group sessions run by Asia Development Training who run the Sir Bobby Charlton Centre.
Emman Al Shayab
Emman had her left leg amputated below the knee after she received blast injuries following an air raid near her home. She had been traumatised by the event and ashamed of her situation. Following her arrival in Za’atari Camp she was seen by a psychiatrist and a physiotherapist from Asia Development Training, who recommended that she would benefit from both the physical and psychological support. Initially Emman had bad mood swings and would find it difficult to accept any support, often refusing to participate, however she later began to find the help and treatment she was receiving helped her come to terms with her situation. Emman is now undertaking the leadership training course at the Sir Bobby Charlton Centre, Amman.
Ghaith is an only child and witnessed his greatest loss of seeing his father die. He remembers when he saw his father die, he was carrying a Syrian coloured scarf in his hand. Ghaith is burdened with the memories of war. The images he see’s in his mind are real and all include the image of his dying father. The support he receives from the psychologist and therapy staff at the Sir Bobby Charlton Centre in Amman will help him along the way to come to terms with his tragic experience.
Hamzeh Al Hassan
Hamzeh found it very difficult to become involved in the centres activities, he was very angry with the world and felt no one could help him. His father had been arrested and they were told he had died. Hamzeh cannot believe his father won’t turn up again and look after him and his younger sister who had been injured during missile attacks. He received individual support sessions initially as he didn’t want his younger sister to see him crying or to be worried about him. Hamzeh has slowly become more integrated with the activities at the Sir Bobby Charlton Centre, especially the sports program.
Hosam Al Masmoum
Hosam’ mother suffered serious injuries during a bombing raid in which his grandparents were also killed. His mother had to have her right leg amputated and Hosam had to support her when they fled Syria. He says he has many fears of the future. Hosam has taken to feel some security during the sessions with other children drawing and playing. The staff of Asia Development training who run the Sir Bobby Charlton Centre will slowly help him overcome his tragic experiences.
Madiha Al Tadmori
Madiha suffered the loss of many friends as well as a number of relatives and neighbours. Some of them have disappeared and no one knows their fate. She is burdened with the memories of the war. She needed psychological guidance as her tendency was to express herself silently, crying a lot whenever she recalls what happened in Syria as well as during the arduous asylum journey. Madiha has a clear artistic talent and is finding her talent to express herself and her emotions through her art is giving her the ability to think more clearer and greater strength. The staff at Asia Development Training are pleased with her progress.
Mohammad Khair Ghanam
Mohammad, like his brother Omar witnessed the fear and terror of the civil war in Syria. His descriptions of being with his father when he witnessed many rockets landing on buildings and dead and dying people covered in blood. He said he cannot forget the screams of those injured and their families and friends trying to help them. He thanked all the staff from Asia Development Training who had helped him with his problems and said he would not forget the Sir Bobby Charlton Centre in Jordan. He left with his family to a new life in Canada in July 2019.
Omar came from a wealthy family who had lost everything during the war. The fear of their security still dominates his parents, two sisters and brother. It has been that fear of having to return to Syria and being targeted that has just recently allowed them to leave for Canada as refugees. Omar had witnessed people being killed and injured after being shot at in the streets. Omar benefitted from the psychological support and art therapy sessions he received at the Sir Bobby Charlton Centre in Amman, Jordan.
When her father was arrested he pleaded with their mother to take Sedra and her sister and brother to Jordan. They haven’t heard from him since his arrest and Sedra says she is in pain waiting to see him again. She feels she should be nearer where he is as there is too much distance between Jordan and Syria. She says she finds it difficult now to speak with others and feels ashamed of her situation. Sedra is responding well to the psychological intervention she has received at the Sir Bobby Charlton Centre and continues to take part in the art therapy.
Shahid Al Sheilkh
Since one of her friends lost her leg during a bombing raid on their town Shahid has constant dreams of the same thing happening to her. She wishes her friends leg will return.
Shahid says she cannot stop the nightmare in her head and can only scream at night to stop her dreaming. Through the art therapy and support at the Sir Bobby Charlton Centre she is beginning to develop relationships with other children.
Sidra Al Qasem
Sidra explains how her beautiful house was bombed and how her brother was badly injured. He had to have his right leg amputated above the knee. It took the family more than three weeks to reach the border and cross into Syria and the fear and stress they suffered during that period affected the whole family. The Asia Development Training (ADT) staff who run the Sir Bobby Charlton Centre have helped through the psychological support therapy as well as the therapeutic painting.
Shaima’a came from a happy family of five children until during the war her was very badly injured suffering traumatic amputation before she died. She has felt neglected and sadness since they arrived as refugees in Jordan and took up home in Za’atari camp. Her father had now re-married and she blames everyone who made the war for destroying their happiness as a family. Shaima’a is able to express her feelings to ADT staff at the Sir Bobby Charlton Centre.
Yousaf say’s that he always hears his mother asking “why”. He was on his way home when snipers opened fire and killed his mother and her friend. With his father and his five sisters Yousaf had fled Syria fearing that the family would be arrested. They arrived in Jordan when he was 12 years old. Yousaf is still in a state of shock over his mothers death and is getting help through the Sir Bobby Charlton Peer Support Programme and the art therapy run by Asia Development Training.
Fourteen-year-old Wissam grew up on a family farm in Daraa, southern Syria, where he lived with his parents, two brothers and a sister. During fighting in the region, a bomb detonated near Wassim, causing extensive third-degree burns. His left leg was amputated below the knee and he suffered severely weakened muscles on both legs. At first Wissam refused therapy, pretending to be sick so he could skip sessions. Over time staff at the Sir Bobby Charlton Centre were able to win his trust and he began to engage with both physical and psychological support. The seriousness of his burns required him to travel to Spain for additional surgery, but he is now able to walk normally. When he grows up Wissam says he wants to be an airplane pilot.
Sami Ferraj was born in the small village of Ihnken in southern Syria, where he lived with his parents and older brother until he was eight years old. In the spring of 2011, the Syrian Army entered their village and Sami and his older brother fled to a safer village further to the south. This village was eventually targeted as well, and a shell from a bombing raid hit Sami and two of his cousins, who were both killed. Sami survived, but with severe injuries to both legs. He was rushed to a makeshift hospital set up in a nearby school, where, in what had recently been a classroom, both legs were amputated. In 2013, seeking relief from the constant pain he was enduring from his injuries and fleeing an advancing Syrian army, Sami and his brother crossed the border into Jordan and settled in the vast Zaatari refugee camp. It was there that he first encountered Find A Better Way’s charity partner, Asia Development Training and began his rehabilitation. Sami underwent two additional operations on his legs and began the physical and psychological therapy necessary before being fit with prosthetic legs. During the art therapy he received, Sami discovered his love of painting. His works are often dark depictions of the trauma he has experienced, but others reveal his strong connection to family, newfound love, and hope. Sami says that it was the experience of working with different colours that first gave him the hope that his life was still worth living. He continues to find joy in his painting, but he also loves acting and he has performed in several productions at a theatre in the Zaatari refugee camp. When he grows up, Sami dreams of becoming a lawyer, a painter, or working in theatre.
Fatima Aldayat grew up in the rural village of Ghouta, where she lived with her parents and five brothers. When she was twelve years old, she was the sole survivor of a government airstrike on her home. She was left with a severely injured spine and was unable to use her legs. After several unsuccessful rehabilitation attempts, Fatima joined a physical and psychological trauma therapy programme run by Find A Better Way’s partner Asia Development Training. Over time she went from being a full paraplegic to moving independently with a walker. Fatima also discovered a love for painting through the art therapy programme and has demonstrated exceptional ability. Her self-esteem has continued to grow as her therapy has progressed, and she has started wearing makeup and shown other outward signs of confidence and socially efficacy. Her ambition is to continue her healing process and to pursue an education.
Shot in the back during the war in Syria, Ola sustained injuries to her spine and vertebrae that made it extremely difficult for her to move her legs. At age fourteen she was told by doctors she would never walk again. She had had repeated examinations and evaluations, all of which concluded there was no hope of recovery. By the time she encountered Find A Better Way’s partners, Asia Development Training, her shame and anxiety were so intense she would not allow anyone other than her physical therapist to interact with her. But this connection was slowly built upon, and eventually led to a dramatic recovery. Over the course of the next five months Ola went from a “hopeless case” to walking with a cane. With improved mobility came improved confidence and she began to open up to the people around her. Still carrying shrapnel embedded in her legs, Ola awaits additional surgery as she continues rehabilitation therapy, and dreams of pursuing her education. Now nineteen years old, she has received many marriage proposals, but wants to wait until her walking is fully restored before settling down to raise a family. Ola says that having access to the psychotherapist and the art therapy at the Sir Bobby Charlton Centre has given her hope for her future.
Hanin, from Daraa in southern Syria, was born with cerebral palsy and deformed joints. Even before the war began her condition left her feeling ostracised from those around her. When fighting broke out she was exceptionally vulnerable, both to the violence and to the shortage of medical care. She fled to Jordan and came under the care of Find A Better Way’s partner charity, Asia Development Training at the Sir Bobby Charlton Centre. She was given splints for her joints and started a physical therapy program. At the same time, she received psychotherapy for the trauma she was exposed to in the war and from her dislocation. Thanks to the physiotherapy and art therapy programs she gained control of her fingers and is now learning to walk without supports. This has allowed her to participate more and more in the wider world outside of her.
Majdolin, from Daraa in southern Syria, had been married for two months when a stray bullet went through her abdomen, leaving her legs paralysed. She fled to Jordan to find medical treatment, and there received care at the Sir Bobby Charlton Centre in Amman. During this time, she went from being paralysed below the waist to moving with a walker and, finally, to walking independently. The art therapy helped her overcome the trauma of her experiences. Now twenty-eight years old, she is back in Syria living with her husband and hopes to begin raising a family soon. She hopes that one day Find A Better Way will open a centre in Syria to help support the many wounded and traumatised Children and teenagers who have been unable to escape the country for help.
Seventeen-year-old Khalid, from Daraa in southern Syria, was born with cerebral palsy. When his entire family was killed by a bomb striking his home, he was left in an especially vulnerable situation. By the time he began receiving treatment from Find A Better Way’s partner charity Asia Development Training (ADT), Khalid was suffering from severe post-traumatic stress disorder. His physical and psychological problems negatively reinforced each other. At first, Khalid could only walk on his tiptoes and with assistance, and he also suffered from mood swings and low self-esteem which drove him to self-isolation. He was particularly ashamed of his appearance and did not want anyone else to see him. Through his treatment, he gradually became stronger both mentally and physically: the physical therapy taught him to walk again; the psychotherapy introduced him to peer support therapy and art therapy. Painting became an important outlet for Khalid, and he became highly prolific. With his renewed strength and the discovery of his passion for art, Khalid’s self-esteem increased rapidly, and he began participating in more and more social activities. Today Khalid lives in the Zaatari refugee camp where he continues both his painting and his relationship with ADT. Khalid dreams of becoming a famous artist, a doctor or a football player.
Huda grew up in Daraa in southern Syria. Two weeks after graduating from high school in 2013 she was critically injured by the nearby detonation of a thermal missile, throwing her into the air and injuring her left leg. Her leg was amputated in a rushed operation at a makeshift clinic in Daraa. Needing further treatment, she was transported out of Syria and eventually she came under the care of Find A Better Way’s partner charity, Asia Development Training (ADT). Traumatised, afraid, and ashamed of her injured body, Huda hid in her room to avoid interacting with anyone else. After several months of therapy, she gradually emerged from her shell and became an active participant in group activities and started joining social outings at the weekends. Her enthusiasm grew so strong that ADT staff suggested she train to become an assistant in their work. After completing her training Huda used her new salary to pay her tuition at the University of Jordan, where she graduated with a degree in Arabic literature in August 2017. Currently, she is continuing her work with ADT at the Sir Bobby Charlton Centre and hopes one day to be a professor of literature. This year Huda has been awarded a Sir Bobby Charlton Scholarship to continue her studies at the University of Jordan. Huda hopes one day to return to Syria and continue to help support others who have been traumatised by the war.