A year after Turkey offered life-changing surgery to allow her to walk using prosthetic legs, 9-year-old Maya Meri of Syria is now able to experience the joy of walking to school in Idlib.
Maya was first brought to Turkey after reporters from Anadolu Agency (AA) saw her struggling to walk with an apparatus made by her father from cans in Idlib's Ser Ceble refugee camp. After AA shared her story, the girl was brought to Turkey by the Turkish Red Crescent where her biggest dream of being able to walk was turned into a reality.
On Aug. 8 of last year Maya, who lacked working legs due to a congenital condition along with her Muhammad Ali Meri, returned to the Ser Ceble refugee camp after treatment.
Ahmet Aşık, Maya’s teacher at the Hudhayfah ibn al-Yaman school told AA that Maya started school at the beginning of the education year like her peers, adding: “Maya is a student with a strong will. Now, she can come to school alone without the help of anyone ."
Aşık said that Maya is a very successful student, adding, however, that Maya was not alone and that there were many children with physical and mental disabilities in Syria that need help.
“We need to provide psychological support programs for them,” Aşık said.
Maya's father, Muhammad Ali Meri, who was also born with the same family condition, told AA that the surgery in Turkey and the prosthetic legs have changed their lives.
"My daughter Maya wanted very much to have prosthetic legs. But I couldn’t afford them. After immigrating to the Idlib countryside Maya’s story attracted attention,” adding they were able to go to Turkey with the support of the Turkish government and the Turkish Red Crescent.
He thanked Turkey for providing his daughter with prosthetic legs, “There are many children that are in my daughter's condition in Syria. They also need these prostheses. I hope the Turkish government will help these people as well.”