Syrian girl with tin can prostheses comes to Istanbul for treatment
The Syrian girl with prosthetic legs made by her father out of tin cans and PVC has been brought to Istanbul for treatment by the Turkish Red Crescent.
Eight-year-old Maya Meri, who was living in the Sar Jabla refugee camp in the Idlib province near the Turkish border, will be able to walk with her prosthetic legs three months later, Anadolu Agency reported on June 28.
“First, a testing socket will be made. Standing and balance practice will follow. Soon after, we will extend the prostheses and attach a knee joint to the system. Later, we will add another piece under the knee joint to extend it. We will place the custom-designed feet,” prosthetic specialist Mehmet Zeki Çulcu said.
“Maya has a congenital abnormality. Anyhow, she is an example to similar lives weathered by the war. Maya has been a flag child, a child symbol. There are many children like her out there,” he added.
Maya’s father Ali Meri, who also suffers from a congenital walking disability, was invited to Istanbul by Turkish Red Crescent head Kerem Kınık.
“My daughter cannot do anything without help. That makes me very sad. I wish to see her going to school and meeting her needs on her own,” Ali Meri told state-run Anadolu Agency.
The conditions in which Meri family lives were unveiled by a media report on June 21. Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency had reported the heart-breaking story of eight-year-old Maya Meri, whose legs had to be amputated by doctors at birth.
Originally from the Aleppo province, they had fled from bombings to Idlib.
With the help of her makeshift prostheses, Maya had been commuting to school 300 meters away from the tent where the family lives.
“I have a dream and it is to walk,” Maya was quoted as saying.
Her father Ali, who has five more children, had pleaded to journalists, stressing proper prosthetic devices could be found in Turkey.
“She suffers so much because of rocks and mud,” her mother Rabia had said.
“She cannot play with her friends because she cannot keep up with them. She needs to go to school. We need real prostheses,” she had added.
Father will be also treated
Ali Meri will also receive treatment in Istanbul and will hopefully be able to walk with proper prostheses five months later.
“These prostheses are not lifetime ones. Needs for interventions arise especially in the developmental stage of a child. Thus, if we really would like to touch the life of this family, we need to support their lives somehow inside Turkey,” Mehmet Zeki Çulcu said.