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Man who lost leg in Syria conflict now helping others walk again

By Noemi Jabois / Beirut / Almost a decade after he lost his leg and his dream of being a soccer player, Abdel Mawla has not only learned to walk again with an artificial leg, but also has become a prosthetics specialist to help other amputees from the Syrian civil war.

Back in 2012, Abdel Mawla was a just teenager, looking forward to returning to his hometown of Mount Zawiya in the province of Idlib from Damascus, where his family had fled to at the start of the conflict a year before.

Crammed into a vehicle with 15 other relatives and neighbors, Abdel Mawla’s joy of returning home soon turned into harrowing fear when they were suddenly attacked by a barrage of gunfire near the city of al-Rastan.

“At first we were very scared, but later we left things to God,” the 24-year-old tells Efe.

“I could only press down the wound with my hand to stop the bleeding and tie my brother’s leg.”

After a tough journey during which he was moved from hospital to hospital, Abdel Mawla and his brother, the only ones injured in the attack, went to receive medical care in Ankara, Turkey, where, three months later, his leg was amputated due to infections and complications from the gunshot wound.

Helping others walk

Today, eight years on, Abdel Mawla works at a center in northern Idlib installing prosthetics for people with missing limbs in an attempt to make them feel “strong and confident again.”

In his sky blue uniform and his prosthetic leg, the young Syrian accompanies patients of all ages every step of the way, from the choice of the prosthesis, to its adaptation, to its application.

Once the installation process is complete, he starts giving patients prosthetic training to allow them to perform regular, daily activities with their new artificial limbs.

“Due to the lack of technical personnel to help injured Syrians, I decided to study this subject and volunteer at a prosthetics center to help these wounded people,” Abdel says.

It was a scholarship that allowed him to study for three years and receive an international certificate in prosthetics through a German-based NGO and the Faculty of Rehabilitation Sciences.

“After three years of studies I got my certificate, which allows me to make these prostheses from the first stages to the end, how to shape, install and practice with them,” he explains.

Born again

The work in the prosthetic center is intense and physically challenging and his healthy leg is starting to suffer, but far from wanting to give up his passion, Abd is considering a change of approach.

“Now I am trying to change the way I support people from prosthetics to medical aid and improvements to help as many specialists as possible in this field,” he says.

Abdel Mawla knows first-hand how overwhelmingly happy the people he helps become when they are once again able to walk on their own, much like what he experienced several months after he lost his own leg.

In his case, it was only after shedding many tears and much suffering that he decided to go back to Turkey, this time to the Rihaniye Prosthetics Center, just five kilometers from the Syrian border, to get a prosthesis.

“I felt that I had been born again, I was very happy,” he says.  (October 26, 2020, EFE/PracticaEspañol)

News related in video (2013):


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Question 1
En general, el texto habla de...
cuándo comenzó la guerra en Siria.
un joven sirio que cumplió su sueño de ser futbolista.
un joven que ayuda a otras personas a volver a caminar.
Question 2
Según el texto...
ese joven está ayudando a otras personas a caminar con una prótesis.
ese joven no tiene aún claro cuál es realmente su vocación.
ese joven no resultó herido en Siria.
Question 3
Leyendo el texto entendemos que ese joven...
perdió una pierna a causa de una infección.
recibió tratamiento médico en la capital de Turquía.
no pasó en ningún momento miedo cuando oyó unos disparos.
Question 4
Sobre ese joven se dice que...
solo aconseja a sus pacientes qué prótesis es las más adecuada para ellos.
intenta motivar a sus pacientes durante el tratamiento.
no cree que sea necesario inspirar y motivar a sus pacientes durante la rehabilitación.
Question 5
Según el texto...
se espera que este joven reciba pronto una prótesis que le permita volver a caminar.
ese joven no se siente muy feliz ayudando a otras personas que están en una situación similar a la que estuvo él.
ese joven se siente feliz cuando ayuda a otras personas a caminar por sí mismas.
Question 6
Según el vídeo...
más de 60 millones de personas tuvieron que abandonar Siria después de haberse declarado la guerra.
se desmiente que haya aumentado el número de desplazados en Siria.
ese padre sirio quiere que sus hijos continúen yendo a la escuela.
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