Mother of autistic triplets’ desperate struggle for support

Publié: 29 décembre 2015 13:46 CET

By Caroline Haga IFRC

Nurse Jihani Mofalami is among the 1,700 people arriving daily on the Greek island of Chios. She fled her war-ravaged home town of Daram, Syria with her husband and four children.

But the 40-year-old’s decision to leave was driven not only by the brutal realities of life in a warzone, but also by the impact of fighting on her seven-year-old triplets – all of whom are autistic.

Jihani said: “The war has directly affected the triplets. Our girl has a phobia of aeroplanes because of what she has experienced. One of my boys has become very aggressive and I believe it is because he is traumatised after having seen blood and injured people on the streets so many times.”

In Syria, Jihani worked as a nurse and laboratory technician and her husband ran his own shop. Her eldest daughter, aged twelve, hopes to become a mathematics teacher and is a carer for her three younger siblings. She also helps to look after the triplets – two boys and one girl – when they visit the Spanish Red Cross’s child-friendly space in Chios. The facility provides children with emotional and psychological support and the chance to play and express themselves. It is run by a team of Red Cross experts.

The family is now preparing to continue their journey to Germany in search of treatment and rehabilitation for the triplets.

“We had to flee because of my children,” said Jihani. “I am hoping to find good treatment for the triplets in Europe. In Syria there is none.”

About 3,400 people arrive by sea to Greek islands every day. The Hellenic Red Cross is providing food and water, medical care, Restoring Family Links services to reconnect people separated from their loved ones and psychosocial support to those suffering from stress and trauma. More than 55,000 people have been reached by the Hellenic Red Cross on the islands of Samos and Chios, with a further 106,000 people provided with support in Lesvos.