Helping the Lame to Walk in Syria

August 18, 2023 • Syria
Samaritan’s Purse is serving children with disabilities who live in displacement camps in Syria, including this 2-year-old named Maritza.

Samaritan’s Purse helps displaced children overcome birth defects to gain mobility.

Provide Relief as the Syria Crisis Continues

Those who live in displacement camps in Syria are often overlooked, but none more than the children. These youngest victims of the nation’s civil war face a meager existence in squalid conditions.

Children with disabilities living in these conditions are often isolated, going without proper medical care or other vital resources. But Samaritan’s Purse is reaching “the least of these” (Matthew 25:40) in Syria, coming to their aid in Jesus’ Name.

Because of care provided by Samaritan’s Purse in Syria, 2-year-old Maritza* is now both sitting up and moving around, activities that seemed impossible not long ago.

A Tough Start

Maritza was born in a displacement camp with spina bifida, a crippling spinal condition that begins in the womb. This led to meningocele—a mass protruding out of her back through the malformed bones. Maritza received surgery at birth to remove these defects and reduce pressure on her spine, but she also developed paraplegia, which left her paralyzed from the waist down.

“Everything was very hard, but it was worth trying.”

Maritza’s parents were devastated that they could not properly care for their daughter. Her father, a day laborer in the camp, struggled to provide his family the most basic needs of food, clothing, and medical care. Oftentimes they went without. Still, he worked hard to help his wife take care of their five sons and two daughters. Desperate, the couple prayed for help.

“Everything was very hard, but it was worth trying,” said Maritza’s father with courage.

A Chance for Help

Over a year ago, Maritza’s mother visited the camp management and discovered that Samaritan’s Purse offered help to disabled children.

“When I heard that this organization provides physical therapy and assistive devices to children, I gave our tent address and contact information and rushed home with hope in my heart and happiness that the Lord responded to our family’s prayers,” the mother said.

“The Lord responded to our family’s prayers.”

The Samaritan’s Purse physical therapy team assessed Maritza’s condition, which, at times, seemed particularly difficult to address. The team decided to pursue a treatment plan and trust God to work.

As they began to treat Maritza, the team also encouraged and supported her family. Her parents soon grew hopeful as they saw gradual improvements in Maritza’s condition.

An Opportunity to Stand

After a few months, Maritza’s muscle strength increased by more than half and she was able to move her hips and thighs. With that breakthrough, the team provided Maritza with medical shoes and a wheeled walker with a belt that helped her stand on her feet. This was like a miracle for a girl who was once paralyzed and unable to move!

Today, we continue to care for Maritza. She continues with quarterly neurology consultations to monitor the cerebrospinal fluid levels in her brain, a condition that can create abnormal, sometimes dangerous, cranial pressure.

Maritza can now sit up on her own thanks to the care she received from Samaritan’s Purse.

Maritza’s parents rejoice over her improvements. Her mother now has renewed hope and a changed heart because of the care her daughter received. She has started attending support groups where she has been encouraged to share her story of pain-turned-to-joy with other mothers and has become a model of God’s good plans for each one of them.

The work of Samaritan’s Purse among displaced people in Syria provides families with daily reminders that God is at work in their lives.

Patients like Maritza get to experience first-hand God’s healing power: “the lame came to Him … and He healed them” (Matthew 21:14).

Praise God with us for these healings! Please continue to pray that children and their families will be blessed as Samaritan’s Purse teams come alongside them in Jesus’ Name.

*Name changed for security

Provide Relief as the Syria Crisis Continues Samaritan’s Purse is providing critically needed relief in Syria as thousands have been displaced and had their lives disrupted by the ongoing crisis there. Working in Jesus’ Name, we're helping to provide critically needed medical care and food, among other forms of assistance. Please pray for the many Kurds, Christians, and others who are caught in the middle of this conflict.

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