Yemen: Three-year-old Hayat walks out of rehabilitation centre

  • Physical rehabilitation centre, Sana'a, Yemen.
    Physical rehabilitation centre, Sana'a, Yemen.
    Hayat means "life" in Arabic, but at the age of three, little Hayat has experienced more sorrow than most adults. Her home in the Al-Qaflah area of Amran governorate was destroyed in an airstrike. Her much-loved younger sister Dunia was killed. Hayat suffered severe shrapnel injuries and her right foot was so badly damaged that it had to be amputated.
    CC BY-NC-ND / ICRC / Mohammed Abdullah
  • Al-Qaflah, Amran Governorate, Yemen.
    Al-Qaflah, Amran Governorate, Yemen.
    Hayat was found in a room close to where the rocket smashed into the family home. Face down and crying in pain. She looked like a “burned wooden stick” according to her father, who carried her out of the house.
    CC BY-NC-ND / ICRC / Hassan Al-Najjar
  • Al-Qaflah, Amran Governorate, Yemen.
    Al-Qaflah, Amran Governorate, Yemen.
    Hayat holds on to her brother as they gaze at what is left of their home. They have had to move into a temporary home that is far less spacious and comfortable.
    CC BY-NC-ND / ICRC / Hassan Al-Najjar
  • Physical rehabilitation centre, Sana'a, Yemen.
    Physical rehabilitation centre, Sana'a, Yemen.
    Hayat does not fully grasp what has happened to her right foot. Her parents often catch her looking at it, trying to understand where it went. She constantly looks at other people's feet, and those of her dolls. Somewhere deep down, with the logic of a child, she has come to understand that she is different and that there is something wrong with her. She suddenly has to crawl instead of walking and can no longer run around and play. "Can you bring me a foot?" she asks her father when he heads out to the market.
    CC BY-NC-ND / ICRC / Mohammed Abdullah
  • Physical rehabilitation centre, Sana'a, Yemen.
    Physical rehabilitation centre, Sana'a, Yemen.
    Hayat's family heard that she could be fitted with an artificial leg. Now that her wounds have healed, she makes the two-hour journey to the ICRC-supported physical rehabilitation centre in Sana'a, accompanied by her father, mother and younger sister Aisha. Hayat is already tired by the time she arrives at the centre. There are lots of people and lots of movement. Very stressful for a 3-year-old.
    CC BY-NC-ND / ICRC / Mohammed Abdullah
  • Physical rehabilitation centre, Sana'a, Yemen.
    Physical rehabilitation centre, Sana'a, Yemen.
    Hayat waits anxiously next to her father for one of the staff to come and see her. She is distressed and uncomfortable, wary of the unfamiliar environment.
    CC BY-NC-ND / ICRC / Mohammed Abdullah
  • Physical rehabilitation centre, Sana'a, Yemen.
    Physical rehabilitation centre, Sana'a, Yemen.
    ICRC physiotherapist Islem Cheriet enters the room. She will be helping Hayat to walk and regain her balance. Islem takes her time to get acquainted with Hayat, but the little girl is anxious and afraid because of all the new faces and the unfamiliar environment. She starts crying and Islem tries to comfort her.
    CC BY-NC-ND / ICRC / Mohammed Abdullah
  • Physical rehabilitation centre, Sana'a, Yemen.
    Physical rehabilitation centre, Sana'a, Yemen.
    A technician wraps plaster round Hayat's leg as part of the casting procedure, which is an essential step in the process of manufacturing her prosthetic leg.
    CC BY-NC-ND / ICRC / Mohammed Abdullah
  • Physical rehabilitation centre, Sana'a, Yemen.
    Physical rehabilitation centre, Sana'a, Yemen.
    Hayat and her father leave the centre at the end of this first visit. They will come back in a few days when Hayat's new prosthetic leg is ready.
    CC BY-NC-ND / ICRC / Mohammed Abdullah
  • Physical rehabilitation centre, Sana'a, Yemen.
    Physical rehabilitation centre, Sana'a, Yemen.
    A few days later, Hayat is back at the rehabilitation centre. At first, she is reluctant to try her new leg, but eventually she lets herself be convinced and takes her first faltering steps holding on to metal bars for support. This is known as "gait training."
    CC BY-NC-ND / ICRC / Yeyha Arhab
  • Physical rehabilitation centre, Sana'a, Yemen.
    Physical rehabilitation centre, Sana'a, Yemen.
    Hayat is ecstatic and proud as she takes her first steps without support. A happy little girl walks towards her father. "When she started walking, we couldn’t stop her. She just wanted to keep going. She gave me her first smile. It was beautiful," recalls Islem.
    CC BY-NC-ND / ICRC / Yeyha Arhab
  • Physical rehabilitation centre, Sana'a, Yemen.
    Physical rehabilitation centre, Sana'a, Yemen.
    Hayat is overjoyed. She lets go of her mother's hand and takes small but confident steps.
    CC BY-NC-ND / ICRC / Yeyha Arhab
  • Physical rehabilitation centre, Sana'a, Yemen.
    Physical rehabilitation centre, Sana'a, Yemen.
    Hayat's father holds on to her hand as she walks out of the centre with the sun shining on her face. She had to be carried in … but she walked out.
    CC BY-NC-ND / ICRC / Yeyha Arhab
03 décembre 2015

Three-year-old Hayat has just received an artificial lower leg from an ICRC-supported physical rehabilitation centre in Sana'a. An airstrike destroyed her house, killed her sister and crushed her right leg. She had to be carried in to the centre by her father, but when she left she was walking again ... and smiling.