When a shell hit Rawan’s home in Gaza, the 10-year-old was left with a skull fracture and internal bleeding. Her parents thought they might never hear their daughter’s laugh in their home again.
The last thing Rawan remembers from the day the shell hit her home in Khoza’a, east of Khan Younis, is a loud explosion. Rawan’s mother Umm carried Rawan in her arms, begging the child to open her eyes. Umm thought her little girl had died and called her husband, who was trying to rescue their other children from beneath the rubble.
After six days of urgent care in one hospital, Rawan was taken to the Palestine Red Crescent Society’s Al Amal Hospital in Khan Younis for rehabilitation. Umm says: “We asked God to heal her so that she would return home and fill it with laughter."
Games boost Rawan’s recovery
Physiotherapist Aya Kallab says that when Rawan was admitted she had weak upper and lower limb muscles, a balance disorder and severe trauma. She also had trouble standing and walking, and her eyes were swollen.
Rawan received two months of treatment at the hospital, allowing her body and mind to heal after the violence. Her care included physical, occupational and psychological therapy as well as reading and drawing activities, and games that got her moving again.
Dr Wa’el Makki is the hospital’s director. He says it is the only place in Gaza giving rehabilitation services to patients with temporary or permanent disabilities. He adds that Al Wafa’ Hospital, which used to offer these services in the Northern Gaza Strip, was destroyed during the unrest.
Rawan is one of hundreds of children injured during the recent violence in Gaza. Ministry of Health statistics show that 30 per cent of people disabled in the fighting were children. The Palestine Red Crescent Society’s health and psychological support teams are all working tirelessly to help them rebuild their lives.
“At the beginning, I was unable to stand or walk,” Rawan says. “Now, I can run around and play with my friends. I will not forget the games I played, nor the stories I read at the Red Crescent Rehabilitation Section where I felt at home. I will miss the lovely time I spent there.”