Lebanon: Paralysis doesn’t stop Naji’s success

The devastating impact of a virus has been experienced in Lebanon in the past. Naji Yazbek is a survivor of polio and a lifelong user of orthotic services.

Naji contracted the virus when he was just 6 months old during the epidemic in the 1970s. At the time, the virus caused a fever and paralyzed movement in his legs and hands. Having received intensive physiotherapy as a child, today paralysis only remains in the muscles of his left leg. To overcome the weakness in his leg, Naji uses orthoses and crutches to support his movement.


Naji has achieved a lot in his life. He studied at Kafaat School; it has a physical rehabilitation center that provided him with his first orthoses and taught him how to use it. “What I liked about my school that it wasn’t only for children with disability, it was for all children,” Naji said. On finishing high school, Naji started working in many fields, such as shoe trading and printing. He continued to develop his interest in printing and opened his own business.


I lived a normal childhood and adulthood like my able-bodied friends, no one was treating me as a person with a disability,

Naji said

 Naji is married with two children and celebrates 25 years of working with the Ministry of Social Affairs in Lebanon, with a passion for supporting other people with disabilities. Naji has a keen interest in sport and in 1997 he founded a wheelchair basketball club that includes Lebanese players with disabilities, regardless of their political background. In 2019 he won the bronze medal at the Sharjah 2019 International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports (IWAS) World Games for Badminton.