Cash assistance helps Ahmad to pursue a better future
UNICEF bolsters wellbeing and social inclusion of children with disabilities
Deir ez- zor, Syria: “Without his wheelchair, Ahmad was not able to go anywhere, including school,” said his father, 43-year-old Mohammad.
Struggling to support his family amid a deepening economic crisis and the ongoing conflict, Mohammad could not pay for the repairs when Ahmad’s wheelchair broke. Ahmad, born with congenital disorder, was not able to move around, play with his friends or go to school without it. He became isolated and sad and felt hopeless.
“We were desperate to help him,” his father explained. Once he heard of UNICEF’s Integrated Social Protection Programme for children with disabilities, he contacted the team running the programme. It visited the family and Ahmad and helped to sign him up for programme. The programme supports Ahmad and his family through regular cash assistance coupled with one-on-one support from a case manager
“When I met Ahmad, he was unhappy, and desperate to go back to his school.”
Mohamad, 27, was assigned to Ahmad as his case manager. He follows up on Ahmad’s case and has referred him to services and specialists he needs.
Through the referrals, Ahmad underwent two surgeries and his parents used some of the cash they received to pay for his treatment and medicine. They also bought him new clothes and school stationary and covered some expenses for the family.
Mohamad also helped to connect Ahmad and his family with other local organizations. With their support, Ahmad received a new wheelchair, and his father was linked to a local charity to help him set up a small grocery shop to secure a higher income in the future.
With all the changes, the future is looking brighter for Ahmad, his five siblings and the entire family.
Ahmad’s self-confidence has grown, and his social life has expanded as he is able to move again and feels physically better too. “Ahmad became more interested in communicating with his peers and relatives,” confirmed Mohamad.
With the new wheelchair, Ahmad was also able to go back to school. He was enrolled in curriculum B classes to catch up on his education.
“I dream of completing my education and becoming a doctor. I will treat children with disabilities and help them achieve their dreams.”
“I am glad he is back in school and feeling hopeful,” added his father, feeling pleased and underscoring the importance of the assistance they received.
Mohamad visits the family regularly and continues to guide Ahmad and his parents. They talk about Ahmad’s health, his progress in school, his needs, and the family’s situation in general.
Across Syria, some 19,300 children with disabilities have benefitted from UNICEF’s Integrated Social Protection Programme between January 2022 and July 2023. This has been possible with the contributions from EU Humanitarian Aid; the European Union and Government of Norway under the UN Joint Programme on Urban and Rural Resilience; the Governments of Austria, Australia, Canada, Finland, Italy, Japan, Norway, Spain, and Sweden; Luxembourg National Committee for UNICEF; Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation; and UNICEF’s Global Humanitarian Thematic Fund.