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Friday, August 14, 2009

Scarred by Conflict

Although many people displaced by the conflict in Pakistan have began returning to their homes and started rebuilding their lives, for nine-year-old Ihtesham life will never be the same again.

Ihtesham lives with his family in the village of Nawagai in Buner District. His father and uncle run a poultry business and were reluctant to leave their home and abandon everything they had worked so hard to create.

A Serious Injury
One day Ihtesham was playing outside his house with friends when his village came under attack. Ihtesham’s father was shot and Ihtesham was struck by a piece of shrapnel. His father experienced only minor injuries, but Ihtesham suffered from serious head injuries. He was taken to the local clinic but his condition was so bad that the doctor there could do very little for him.

Ihtesham was taken by his father to Swabi for emergency medical care but was then referred to Peshawar for further treatment. Ihtesham’s injuries required major surgery and he had to stay in hospital for two weeks. Although he is now recovering, he has permanently lost the sight in his left eye.

Psychological trauma
In addition to the physical effects of the conflict, Ihtesham is still also deeply psychologically traumatized by what he has experienced. Whenever he hears a loud noise or the sound of a plane he becomes scared and stops talking. Unfortunately he is not the only child to be behaving in this way. Many of his friends who also witnessed bombings and the shelling of their homes, have also been left deeply traumatized and in need of psychological support.

No income
Ihtesham needs further treatment and support if he is to overcome the psychological and physical injuries he has experienced. But providing this care will be difficult for his family who have suffered such huge losses. Like many other people in this region they are dependent on agriculture, running a poultry farm in order to make a living. But like other farms in the region, this was severely damaged by the fighting and they now have no source of income.

Islamic Relief has been working with displaced people in Mardan, providing them with healthcare, psychosocial support, clean water and sanitation facilities. We are now planning to move this support to Buner to assist those who are returning home and struggling to rebuild their lives.

Your support can help us provide children like Ihtesham with psychosocial support, healthcare, clean water and an education. Please donate today.


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