I met Omran while he was repairing the chain on his bike. Afterwards, when he was done I asked if I could speak with his parents, then he jumped on his bike and I followed him to his house nearby. His mother opened the door and welcomed me to their apartment. She treated me with a cup of Syrian coffee. Then, I called my friend who spoke Arabic to explain the reason why I am here and why I would like to speak with her about her son. The next day I came back with the translator. We sat and they told us the story of Omran who was wounded in an airstrike in his hometown in Syria, unfortunately resulting in the loss of his right leg.

Omran was born on January 1st, 2007 in Palmyra. He is the youngest son of 6 children. Back in Syria they were living in an ISIS-controlled area, and they were experiencing Russian air strikes on a daily base. They did not want to leave their house, however one night a bomb hit so close to their house that they made the sudden decision to leave. On this evening, they were packing and Omran and his two older brothers were helping to move their belongings to the bus. While he walked along the street, suddenly a rocket hit nearby. Omran’s brothers hid in a deep hole created by a bomb strike the previous day. Soon after, Omran’s oldest brother Bakar heard loud crying and found Omran standing on one leg. Immediately they rushed to the hospital in Raqqa to seek medical treatment. Omran went through surgery and as a result of bombing he lost his right leg above the ankle. Later on, because the wounds got infected, the doctor decided to amputate the leg above the knee. Omran’s mother was with her sons all the time, making sure they received proper medical treatment. She carries true determination and faith. After the surgery, the doctor brought the amputated leg to Omran’s mother telling her to bury it. And she did. She was shocked, exhausted, and frustrated, and grieved the loss.

Omran patiently endured a great deal of physical pain and suffering during this time. Since he left the hospital, he refused to be helped; he wanted to do everything on his own, as he did before. Additionally, due to the bomb incident, he lost some hearing and has difficulty pronouncing words. Currently, he lives with his family in Turkey where he attends a school for children with special needs. However, he needs to be enrolled in a regular school where he could grow and thrive, and develop to his full potential; he is an incredible, smart, intelligent boy. He is eager to learn and remains very active. He has a blue bike that he rides daily. It gives him freedom and a way to express his personality and all he carries within himself that he cannot express with words. On late afternoons, he gathers with his friends from the neighbourhood to play football. He smiles a lot, and despite what happened, he wants to create a life full of hope and possibilities.