Havine* is 18 years old and has been living in a Yazidi internally displaced peoples camp since ISIS came to her village in the Sinjar region in 2014. When Operation Mercy workers first met her over a year ago, she never smiled, had no friends and had no hope in life. She would not leave her home because of her physical disability of severe bilateral clubfoot. Both feet were at a 90-degree angle pointed inwardly since birth.
Despite spending all her time at home, her relationship with her family was strained. In January 2019, she underwent corrective surgery with one of our partner NGOs and had an amazing outcome of one straightened foot. Operation Mercy workers helped care for her in the hospital and back at home with both nursing care and physical therapy.
She then had surgery on her left foot in October 2019, with her cast removal a few months later. Unfortunately, from 2019 until early 2020, she did not have much motivation to do exercises, and her physical improvement progressed slowly due to her depression and anxiety. Sometimes she would even faint from the fear of trying to stand.
Our local team spent weeks encouraging her, reminding her of her incredible value and worth, no matter what her feet looked like. They also encouraged her to continue her exercises. The result has been drastic. Havine has accomplished her goals like walking without any assistance and sitting with her legs crossed on the floor in order to eat and participate in social visits with her family and friends. Now she has two straight feet and has relearnt how to walk!
Today Havine smiles, laughs and has started loving herself. She has friends and leaves her house to hang out with them. Her relationship with her family has also improved. She has joined one of our peer groups of young women her age with similar physical disabilities. She previously had not wanted to participate in a group but now says she looks forward to it.
We have seen her transform from a shy and insecure girl to a vibrant, young woman who is an active participant in her community.