"When I Grow up, I want to be Famous”
Today, at the age of 7, Zaynab is a completely different person from the frightened, non-communicative child she once was. Her caregivers describe her as outgoing, friendly, and confident. They are amazed by how far she has come, and proud of her resilience and determination.
Zaynab's story is a powerful testament to the resilience of the human spirit. Despite being born in Lebanon a region plagued by insecurity and lack of protection measures, Zaynab was a cheerful and joyful child. However, a traumatic incident at the age of 4 left her unable to speak and frozen with fear. They attacked their house in Lebanon and she witnessed violence toward her family. This event affected all her skills and caused a delay in all her abilities specifically the communication and cognitive skills Her parents became increasingly concerned as Zaynab withdrew into herself and refused to communicate with anyone.
Desperate for help, Zaynab's parents turned to Fista for mental health services and special education in partnership with UNICEF and with the financial support of the Australian Embassy.
The therapist's initial assessment of Zaynab painted a grim picture: "When I first saw her, she remained silent, her body was stiff, and she kept her head down to avoid eye contact."
But the therapist didn't give up on Zaynab. Instead, they designed an intervention plan based on positive reinforcement and parental guidance. It wasn't easy at first, but Zaynab's parents quickly learned the importance of patience, understanding, and support. "At first, I didn't have the knowledge; I was ignorant," Zaynab's mother admitted. "However, with the guidance of the therapist, I was able to understand her condition and deal with her behavior."
Slowly but surely, Zaynab began to make progress. After a year of consistent encouragement and support, she spoke her first words to the therapist. It was a moment of incredible relief and joy for her parents and caregivers. Over time, Zaynab's confidence grew, and she started communicating with her peers.
Zaynab's own dreams for the future are equally inspiring. "When I grow up, I want to be famous!" she told her therapist. This story highlights the transformative power of specialized mental health services and the profound impact that timely intervention can have on a refugee child’s life who experienced armed conflict in her mother country Syria. Despite the fear and trauma that had left her unable to speak, Zaynab's parents' decision to seek help from Fista association and enroll her in a specialized program proved to be a turning point in her life.
Through consistent mental health interventions, specialized education, and positive reinforcement, Zaynab was able to slowly overcome her fear and begin communicating once again.