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The Story of Sundus and Salsabil

23 May 2015

When guests arrive at Maher Rahal's house in Irbid for the first time, they are greeted warmly at the door of the modest home. Two sisters smile innocently from inside, but the guest’s attention is soon drawn to the skin condition of two young girls. They sit on a mattress underneath a thin blanket, hiding their arms and searching for warmth. Maher Rahal and his daughters fled their home in Daraa, Syria a couple of years ago, but the challenges facing the small family are far from over.

The two sisters, “Sundus”, aged 13, and “Salsabil”, aged 10, have a skin disease called Epidermolysis Bullosa. The disease causes severe blisters to form on the skin. It renders them unable to use their hands as a result of the fragility of their skin and the atrophy and erosion of the skin on their fingers. The two girls are also unable to socialize and play with the other children because of the social shame that the disease carries.

It has been two years since the family fled from the conflict stricken city Daraa in Syria. They escaped through the mountains and valleys, and finally reached the Jordanian border. Maher and his daughters have lived in Irbid since 2013. The girls have had the skin condition since they were born, but in Jordan the treatments for the girls are far too expensive for the family to afford. Maher makes eight dinar a day working in a restaurant, but the ointment and bandages to relieve the blisters on the skin of his two daughters amount to forty dinar every three days.

Maher thanked the JRC and the volunteers for helping his children and for their donations of blankets and food parcels. He also praised the kindness of his Jordanian neighbors who have provided him with some household items. He said that the generosity and support given by Jordanians to Syrian refugees reflects their good morals. Now, Maher can only pray to God to heal his daughters of their disease.

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