East Ghouta disabled residents resort to labor-intensive vocations


November 29, 2015

In besieged East Ghouta, many amputees and disabled residents are forced to take up jobs in construction and other labor-intensive vocations to try and make a living.

One such case is Muhammad, a young man who lost his hand in a regime airstrike, reported Amar a-Shami, a citizen journalist from East Ghouta who photographed Muhammad at work and posted the pictures along with his story on Facebook Sunday.

“After losing his brother and father [in another airstrike], he became the only breadwinner in the family,” wrote a-Shami in his Facebook post.

Many like Muhammad are uneducated, unable to get office or administrative work. The disabled “must rely on their muscle” to make ends meet, a-Shami told Syria Direct on Sunday.

Because of the nature of his work and his injury, Muhammad told a-Shami in an interview that he is plagued by physical and mental pain.

“When I go home I feel as if electrical charges are shooting through my amputated hand, across my body to my head where it explodes,” said Muhammad.

In Douma, the de facto rebel capital of East Ghouta, there are approximately 1,200 amputees, 550 cases of permanent paralysis and another 500 instances of temporary paralysis, Zein al-Atar, an official with Health Touch, a community organization that provides care for individuals with special needs in the city, told Syria Direct.

Even though there are local aid organizations in East Ghouta that specialize in providing care and assistance to people with disabilities, such as Health Touch, many disabled do not register themselves with the organizations out of a sense of “dignity,” not wanting to appear as beggars, said a-Shami.

Three years after the regime imposed its blockade around East Ghouta, funding sources and supplies for local humanitarian organizations in the besieged rebel region “have dried up or been reduced,” said Akram Tuama, the president of the Local Council of Douma to Syria Direct on Sunday.

“In Ghouta, everything has stopped except for the continuous bombardment.”

Photo courtesy of Amar a-Shami

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