A Glimpse of Hope and Adapting to Disability

March 4, 2024
©UNDP / Syria — Zuhir Al-Fourati

Adjusting to a new life of disability is a challenge few can fathom. Marwa, a 29-year-old woman from Deir Ezzour, knows this challenge all too well. Paralyzed for nearly seven years, she found herself dependent on others for even the simplest things. She was cut off from friends and society, which took a toll on her mental well-being.


Marwa's family managed to secure a manual wheelchair for her, but with flaccid paralysis affecting her upper limbs, moving independently remained a daunting task. She constantly relied on her siblings for mobility, making leaving her home a daunting challenge. She became housebound waiting for her caretakers to release her, a wait that seemed sometimes unending.


But then, a call came that changed Marwa's life. The United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) mobility aid project was delivering an electric wheelchair to her. She could not believe it until she saw the chair with her own eyes. "I had mixed feelings when the programme team informed me about the arrival of my electric wheelchair," Marwa said. "I could not believe it until I had it with me. It was a very emotional moment for me," she added.


The UNDP's mobility aid project in Syria, funded as part of the UN Joint Programme by the EU, Norway, and Italy, provided mobility aids to 71 beneficiaries. These aids included wheelchairs, electric wheelchairs, hearing aids, air mattresses, walkers, blind canes, and shower chairs.


This electric wheelchair provided through the project was a lifeline for Marwa. It would enable her to move independently, without needing assistance from others. Marwa's hope was reignited. She realized that as long as hope remains, there is always a way forward.


Today, Marwa can rely on herself once more. Her mental state has undergone a complete transformation. She is back to being the person she was before her injury, enjoying outings with friends and family. Her determination to recover has made her stronger than ever.


"I was determined to overcome my disability," Marwa said. "My willpower and determination made me stronger than my disability". Marwa's story is one of resilience hope. It is a testament to how mobility aids can change the lives of persons with disabilities, helping them regain their independence and self-confidence.