Vital Work for Conflict-affected Children in Lebanon, Turkey and Ukraine

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“This is quite a meaningful and moving recognition for INARA. One of the core principles at the center of INARA’s creation was to restore a life of dignity, self-reliance and independence to war wounded children who were falling through the gaps in access to medical and mental health treatment. The very same values that are held by Ockenden.
Arwa Damon
INARA Founder and President
What the Judges said

The seven-member judging panel were impressed by INARA’s “long-term commitment to children recovering from and/or overcoming horrendous, life-changing, injuries.” The US-established organisation is looking after 197 young patients “providing after care aimed at gaining a full and complete life through medical interventions and psychosocial support that fills an important gap, making a real difference to their chances of independence,” they added.

INARA Medical Project: the view on the ground

A Quote from the mother of one of INARA’s beneficiaries’: “When doctors told me my baby had lost her hearing and the ability to speak, and that she was in need of a very expensive treatment, I felt a deep sadness wash over me. It was a shock for me, something I never expected to hear.  I was terrified, and struggled a lot.

I would contemplate my daughter, take her between my arms and hold back tears trying to escape the feelings of desperation and weakness.  I was desperate, but didn’t give up. I only dreamed of seeing my daughter hearing other people, talking to them. I was trying my best so she doesn’t become different or disabled in some way. I knocked on every door I could find: organisations, hospitals, foundations . . . to help me with my daughter’s treatment, but to no avail.

Despite all of that, I didn’t give up, and kept on searching for the sake of my daughter, until I found INARA. Finding them was the beginning of a new chapter, of renewed hope, of treatment through their pure hearts. It was the end of sadness, thank God. I now know that nothing comes close to a child’s health and well-being.  I pray to God that the sadness and fear all mothers feel can fade away.”

From our Health Programs Coordinator: “Working with INARA is the greatest opportunity I have had in the humanitarian field so far. The work environment and the nature of the response keep you close to people. You work directly with children affected by war, where you test your humanity.

Besides, the team’s positive energy is reflected in the beneficiaries and the way they respond to us despite the tragic reality they were exposed to. Every day we discover that the injured children and their families are still strong enough to instil hope and peace in their communities.

As a Syrian refugee, I can’t imagine a better place for me to stand and tell the world what the innocent children are going through because of the war, other than working with INARA and the permanent smile INARA draws on their faces.”

From another beneficiaries’ mother: “Every time I looked at my son’s head, I would blame myself a thousand times. The whole journey was difficult. The pain he had following each surgery and especially when doing wound dressing and inflation of expanders, my heart breaks. Taking care of my child during the treatment process wasn’t easy as I had to be very careful while showering him. More attention was given to the child as the doctor warned against risks.

After completing his therapy and seeing his scars disappeared, I realised that INARA organisation can only make a difference in the patient and his family life.”

From an INARA case worker: “As INARA provides holistic care and covers the whole medical and mental health journey, I feel working with vulnerable children is not only a challenge; it is more likely to restore the well-being of children in need and preserve their dignity in accordance with the child’s best interests.”

Ockenden International’s four cash prizes recognise and reward innovative projects that deliver evidential self-reliance to refugees and/or displaced people, the hallmark of Ockenden International since its inception in 1951. The four annual prizes are open to projects or programmes focused on Internally Displaced People (IDP)/refugee self-reliance anywhere in the world. The other nine 2022 finalists (with the other three winners italicised) are: