World Vision JWG She flies

She flies, falls, but is strong enough to fly again

In a small house in a marginalised village, barely seen on a map, away from cities chaos, lives a simple family. The father works in construction, while the mother spends most of her time in the house raising their children. She uses upbringing methods that help nurture her children, improve their self-esteem and promote healthy growth. Affected by her mother’s and father’s care, Tuqa, 16, is always looking forward to the future with her bright eyes.

Tuqa grew up to become an outgoing and adventurous girl. She flew around like a butterfly, spreading happiness everywhere and putting a smile on the face of everyone she comes across. She had so much passion to live. She dreamed big and nothing seemed to be able to stop her from transforming these dreams into reality. Then, things changed. 

Two years ago, Tuqa was playing outside the house with her family around. Her father noticed that when she tried to run or walk, her movement was not normal. He figured there might be something wrong with his daughter’s legs.

Sadness filled her home. Despite the difficult situation, her father did not hesitate to help his butterfly fly again the way she used to. He took her from doctor to doctor trying to figure out what was wrong. After seeing multiple doctors, the family’s sadness came to a boiling point, as one of the doctors confirmed that Tuqa had a cancerous mass in her leg. Taking out that mass would require amputating Tuqa's leg.  

The surgery not only led to physical pain, but emotional and psychological pain as well for Tuqa and her family. With an artificial limb that restricted to her movements, she felt like she is not able to fly high as she would before. She fell into depression and isolated herself in her room. She felt like she was suffocating and didn't want to be around people.

“Having something different about me made me feel different from other children of my age. I faced a lot of challenges in my school, as I could not access the school facilities...  So, I moved to my current school,” said Tuqa. “The main challenge for me is getting to school, as I have to walk a fair distance from my home to school and vice versa. Not to forget the weird stares I get with my prosthetic foot. However, I learned to ignore this stare over time, because this foot is part of my identity now, and I am not ashamed of it. Now things are better in terms of accessibility to the facilities and my teachers do not make me feel any kind of difference. They treat me like the rest of my classmates.

Tuqa’s classmates and friends did not leave Tuqa alone through the rough times. They tried to be supportive and help her get out of the mental state she was in. They nominated her to become a member of the Children Committee for Protection and Advocacy (CP&A), which was founded by World Vision and the Palestinian Child Protection Network. The committee does activities and initiatives in the community to raise awareness on and advocate for children’s rights.

It was not easy for Tuqa to push forward and get out of her isolation, but her dreams were still big, so she forced herself to dig out of depression slowly, with the help of family and friends.

When Tuqa went for the interview to become a member of the CP&A committee, everyone there noticed the spark in her eyes and how much passion to life she has. She, however, still had doubts about herself and what she can achieve.

To no surprise, Tuqa was chosen as a member after the interview. That’s when a new chapter of her life started. For Tuqa, joining the CP&A committee was an important step to repaint her path towards reaching her dreams. As a result of her participation in the committee's meetings and trainings, she was able to overcome the shyness, hesitation and isolation that she endured. She learned how to raise her voice and spread her wings again. She became more social and more helpful towards her community. She learned to be the voice of the voiceless in her remote area.

"I benefited from the trainings carried out by the World Vision targeting the CP&A committee. One of the trainings that added to me was the "Self-knowledge" training, which helped me learn things I did not know before about myself,” said Tuqa.

Finally, Tuqa gave a speech to all children with disabilities: "Look around you, the world gives us a lot of space to live in. Spread your wings, and take advantage of the opportunities available to you in your school, home and neighbourhood. Live with your bodies as they are, and whatever your disability, you can achieve a lot and reach the highest," she said.