No dream too far

Nour’s journey of determination

Lina Al-Qassab
a boy laying on the ground with a pen in his hand and a notebook in front of him
UNICEF/Syria/2020/Aldroubi

26 February 2020

Homs, Syria, 24 February 2020 – Despite his young age, Nour, now 12, can teach the world lessons in determination and hope.

Born with congenital muscular atrophy, Nour is unable to walk or use his arms. Instead, he taught himself to write holding a pen in between his teeth

I’ve never had to skip a day at school,” says Nour, who is now in Grade 6, with pride.

a boy using his mouth to hold the pen and write in a notebook
UNICEF/Syria/2020/Aldroubi
A boy in a wheelchair
UNICEF/Syria/2020/Aldroubi

When he’s not in school or studying, Nour loves to play games on his mobile phone. Unable to use his hands, he puckers his lower lip and uses it to tap on the phone screen.

“I love solving crosswords on my phone!” says Nour who dreams of becoming an Information and Communications Technology (ICT) instructor when he grows up.

Six years ago, Nour’s father passed away leaving Nour, his mother Sana, and three siblings behind. Sana used her skills in tailoring to work as a seamstress at home, but her income could barely keep the family afloat.

Last year, thanks to a generous contribution from Japan, the family started benefitting of the cash for disability programme. The programme provides vulnerable families with monthly cash assistance to help them cope with the financial burdens of caring for their children’s special needs. Nour is one of 2,000 children receiving the assistance across the governorate of Homs.

a boy looking at a mobile phone
UNICEF/Syria/2020/Aldroubi

The family used the first few payments to buy a new wheelchair for Nour. Prior to that, Nour used to move around on a small carriage his family had improvised for him. When it broke, his siblings had to carry him around all the time.

a boy on a wheelchair with his friend
UNICEF/Syria/2020/Aldroubi

“He’s such an outdoor person; he likes to go out on his wheelchair and play with his siblings and friends,” says Sana.

The family also uses the cash to provide the basic needs including food and medicine, as well as school supplies and English language classes for Nour.

“Nothing should stop children from going to school; it’s their path to the future,” says Nour.