Amal’s colorful quarantine
What lockdown looks like for a young girl living with disability and a passion for art
Homs, Syria, 14 May 2020 - While many children and adolescents around the world struggle to cope with home confinement as a precautionary measure against COVID-19, for 16-year-old Amal from Homs, staying home has been a major part of her life for years.
Born with hip dysplasia, Amal’s mobility has been severely impacted, but that was not the end of her challenges. For 15 years of her life, Amal was falsely diagnosed with an articulation disorder, forcing her to drop out-of-school, only to find out last year that her difficulties were due to hearing problems that could have been managed, had they intervened earlier; she had already borne major regression to her speech skills as well as cognitive and educational development.
Despite everything she has been through, Amal found a passion for drawing and has proven to be very talented.
“I’m so impressed by her dedication and composure,” says Hiba, Amal’s older sister. “While we’re all complaining about having to stay home, she’s perfectly content surrounded by her colours and brushes,” she adds.
Since the last time we met her last year, Amal has started accessing online drawing tutorials and was able to self-learn drawing in three dimensions. Her skills have clearly developed; she can now copy stunning portraits drawn in charcoal and make cute handmade greeting cards.
“Amal’s story should be an inspiration for children everywhere,” says Hiba. “They shouldn’t view lockdown as the end of world; they should find the talents they might have been too busy to discover,” she adds.
Alongside her passion for painting, Amal dedicates time daily to revise the alphabet and a few words she managed to learn despite difficulties.
After the world around her became audible when she got her first hearing aids last year, supported by UNICEF, Amal started to understand it more. Some of her recent paintings even reflect her own view of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the grim subject, Amal’s paintings glow with her light-hearted spirit.
Read Amal’s inspiring story here.