Ms. Souad M.H., sixty-eight years old, lives with her sister, ten years her junior, her single niece, and her nephew, an army conscript who comes once a month. The family had been displaced from the village of Bala, near al-Nashabieh, Ghouta, and ended up renting a house in al-Turbeh neighborhood, Jaramana.
Souad suffers from Behçet’s disease, which affected and weakened her limbs, causing her severe pain and stiffness in the joints. Mere standing up became a torture. Almost equally painful was moving around, in addition to urinary incontinence.
Souad loves knitting, having fun doing something useful. Handling knitting needles also helps her keep her hands flexible. Hence, I brought her needles and wool yarn balls, so we could start knitting together. This allowed us some leisure so she could open up and share her pain and worries. She was truly relieved to find a person who listened to her, to whom she could confide about her innermost thoughts and feelings.
Regular visits allowed me to build a special relationship with Souad and her sister, who started participating in some memory games we played, as well as some other activities. Thus, the sister became eager to ask about SSSD activities, then got acquainted with the Hear-My-Heart Programme, and began to come to the community centre to participate in the HMH sessions and activities. She also told a neighbor about the programme and accompanied her into the sessions.
Soon, Souad and her sister began to spread the good news, telling all women in their entourage about SSSD activities. Hence, a small group of women from the HMH Programme paid them a visit, offering Souad a handmade pillow from the Programme’s outputs.
The action plan with senior Souad helped improve her psychological and social condition. Physically, it was also necessary to provide her with adult diapers due to the embarrassment that night incontinence causes her.
With the help of her sister, we went to her doctor and asked him to write a medical report on Souad’s health condition, so that we could network with other NGOs that offer medical assistance. In this way, we were able to provide her with the diapers on a 3-month regular basis.
In the meantime, the regular visits of the HMH women added some fun and loveliness to her new life.
Saying goodbye to me, she added: “Can I call you if I need anything?”
“My sister feels definitely better, especially with her new friendships. I also benefited a lot from the sessions, gaining useful information and knowledge to handle problems and events,” said the sister.
Phone contact continues from time to time with senior Souad to check on her. During the last phone call, she reassured me by saying that her conscript son had been demobilized and that he would take care of the restoration of the family house in Bala.