Real lives

Feature stories


Ayah, a story of pain and hope

Ayah, an inspiring little Yemeni girl who suffered a lot and became a victim of the Yemeni conflict.

Written by Ali Qasem Ali, Communication Officer, UNICEF Aden Field Office

Aden, Yemen, 17 November 2018 - Ayah Najib, an 11-year-old, is a lovely girl full of vitality and energy. Ayah has five brothers, but she unbelievably loves her twin sister Ayaat more. Ayah’s parents, Nageeb and Amani, are modest people. Her mother is a housewife and her father repairs televisions in a small shop in front of their home. Ayah's family struggles to live in peace and safety. The unstable situation in the country changed their lives completely and brought them to a tragedy.

"We were deeply sleeping as usual at 12 o'clock at night, and suddenly, a loud explosion shook the house, the sound of the explosion deafened my ears, and I couldn’t hear what was happening around me. I rushed to my children's room and the sight was shocking," Ayah's father says: “My little children were covered with dust and crying with fear and terror. One of my children pointed me to Ayah who I found covered with her blood suffering from serious injuries," he adds.

That day Ayah lost her left leg and her right foot was also badly injured by several shrapnel. Ayah's father rushed to the nearest hospital to save his beloved daughter. The doctors did their utmost to save the little girl and through a miracle Ayah's condition stabilized, but sadly she has already lost her left foot.
Ayah was forced to stay at the hospital for a month and 10 days until her situation became better. “I used to feel pain every day as I saw her missing her foot. My heart ached,” Ayah mother recalls. “Ayah was constantly asking me if she could walk back, that question made me miserable.”

After Ayah left the hospital, her father went to a clinic in Aden where he was told that they were providing children with artificial limbs. "Ayah got the prosthesis but it never suited her. She was always complaining about it because of it toughness."

“At the beginning, Ayah did not accept the idea that she would walk through an artificial limb. She was crying as soon as she was wearing it.” Ayah mother remembers. The little girl was suffering from this traumatic event. It was a natural reaction for this reedy girl to bear all this psychological pain and difficult circumstances.

"I promised myself that I wouldn’t rest until I see my little girl smile again," says Ayah’s mother. "Some of our neighbors advised us to go to the prosthesis centre in Aden as they read an announcement that UNICEF is providing prosthetic limbs to the affected children.

Ayah is now undergoing intensive physiotherapy sessions at the UNICEF-funded prosthesis centre in Aden, in addition to psychosocial support provided by social workers, who support UNICEF in victim assistance, including with prosthesis and physiotherapy services to the children affected by the conflict.

Ayah during one physiotherapy session at the UNICEF-supported prosthesis centre in Aden.

"Ayah is a very sensitive girl, and with all what she has passed through, she was in need of a special treatment and intensive psychological support to reintegrate her back into the society and regain her vitality and smile.” Dr. Jawhara said, the social specialist in the centre. Ayah's situation has changed a lot now, she used to be sad and lose her temper easily when dealing with other children at the beginning, but she is now calmer and able to adapt to her new situation."

“To see my daughter's smile again is indescribable and invaluable. I would thank everyone who helped to overcome her plight," says Amani, Ayah’s mother, with tears in her eyes.

“I will never forget that day, it made a scar in my heart but I will never give up and I hope that this war ends in my country so we can finally live in peace," concludes Ayah.

The ongoing conflict in Yemen has caused many injuries - both physical and mental. UNICEF's Child Protection Team in Aden provides essential psychosocial support to affected children. During the first phase of UNICEF’s Victim Assistance Project, UNICEF and its partner, the United States Agency for International Development’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (USAID/OFDA) provided 100 children, directly or indirectly affected by the conflict, with integrated support, including physical rehabilitation, psychosocial services as well as assistive devices. Children who benefit from this project come from all the governorates across the country to Aden, due to the lack of health services and infrastructure in most of the governorates. UNICEF has now launched the second phase of the project targeting another 120 children.



 Email this article

unite for children