Making a change —one refugee child at a time
16 February 2017
Franca Fiabane knows that the work she and her husband do to help refugee children is slow, and hard. But it must be done.
Franca, Serious Incidents Support Manager at the Trust said they knew they had to do something when her husband Mohammad, a Syrian-born author and restaurateur returned from a trip five years ago. Mohammad, who had once been politically imprisoned in Syria travelled to Turkey at the start of the conflict, and was shocked by what he saw.
“My husband saw this sea of children maimed by the conflict, and so feeling quite powerless, he decided he would set up a not for profit organisation that would help only children who were maimed.
“It is to alleviate the suffering as much as we can. You feel so hopeless really. The situation hasn’t changed much and this is the best we can do really,” said Franca.
PalmyraRelief CIO now a charity, was established to provide prosthetic limbs to children injured in the Syrian conflict.
With only herself, Mohammad and one other colleague for trustees, the charity has its work cut out for it.
More than half a million Syrians have been seriously disabled by the conflict. More than 100,000 of them are thought to be children under the age of 18.
A prosthetic limb for a child can cost anywhere between 8 to 10,000 Euros, and needs replacing every three years as the child grows, until adulthood.
Mohammad travels to refugee camps and medical centres in border countries like Turkey, using his connections to find the children most in need. So far, they’ve been able to help 10 year old Abdul Karim Sayyd whose knee was shattered when a bomb fell on his neighbour’s wall in Aleppo.
“One of our aims is if we take on a child we’ll follow this person through to adulthood. The child we helped before (Abdul) had been helped by a local charity in Turkey, which provided a leg and then they couldn’t pay anymore, so he was left with this leg that was too small for him and broken and it was difficult for him. So we feel it’s important to follow through,” she said.
The charity stepped in and funded the repair of Abdul’s leg. Thankfully, Abdul and his family were also able to join other family later on in Austria as asylum seekers.
PalmyraRelief CIO negotiates with and pays prosthetic companies directly for transparency, and to make sure children like Abdul get the help they need.
Right now, they’re trying to raise funds to support another child to get prosthetic limbs.
They will host a fundraising buffet on Sunday 26 March 2017 at the Al Waha Restaurant, 75 Westbourne Grove, W2 4UL from 1:00 to 4:00pm. Franca says that she hopes people will join them for home-made Lebanese food at £20 per person (drinks provided). Half of the proceeds will go to the charity’s work. They will share more on the boy they’re trying to help at the event. For more information please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07956 366 824 and visit https://palmyrarelief.org/contribute/