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A Viral Picture Helps Deliver Syrian Refugee Household to Italy

SIENA, Italy — The award-winning {photograph} — of a person who had misplaced a leg in a bomb assault in Syria, hoisting into the air his son, born with out limbs, one other casualty of the nation’s civil warfare — went viral final 12 months in Italy.

On Friday, Munzir El Nezzel, the person within the image, and his son Mustafa arrived in Italy after a exceptional effort by the organizers of the Siena International Photo Awards, to convey them and their household from Turkey, the place that they had fled after Syria.

“We’re coming, thanks,” the 6-year-old Mustafa stated, smiling broadly, in a video message recorded earlier than he and his household — father, mom and his two sisters ages 1 and 4 — boarded a airplane in Ankara on Thursday to fly to Italy. “We love Italia,” he added .

The image of Mustafa and his father, each with loving smiles, which was taken in January 2021 by the Turkish photographer Mehmet Aslan, and known as “Hardship of Life,” was declared photograph of the 12 months on the Siena awards final 12 months.

The emotional and stunning image made headlines in Italy, and unfold internationally on social media, spurring the pageant’s organizers to take motion and begin a fund-raising drive to get therapy for father and son.

The pageant’s organizers contacted diplomats, hospitals, rehabilitation facilities and the Catholic diocese in Siena to host the Syrian household, in order that Mustafa and his father may get therapy and prosthetics.

“The image was past all creativeness,” stated Luca Venturi, an engineer who based the Siena pictures pageant, which bestowed the award, about six years in the past. “We thought we may additionally transcend our worry of not having the ability to do something for this household.”

Like all international locations, Italy can problem visas for humanitarian causes, however refugees should be sponsored by an area group that handles paperwork and supplies monetary help.

Motivated by the success of the crowdfunding effort, the nonprofit that organizes the pictures pageant determined to sponsor the Syrian household.

“It was a giant dream for everyone,” Mr. Venturi stated.

Credit score…Mehmet Aslan

As Mr. Venturi labored his connections in Italy, making an attempt to get permission to convey the household from Turkey, he saved common contact with Mr. El Nezzel by way of WhatsApp, utilizing Google translate to speak in Arabic with the 33-year-old father of three.

Mr. Venturi additionally despatched aerial pictures of Siena’s walled medieval metropolis middle to clarify to the household, who had lived and not using a tv for a decade, the place they have been going to maneuver.

Mr. El Nezzel responded with exclamation factors.

When the household was instructed this month that their visas had come by means of, “they have been in disbelief,” Mr. Venturi stated, including that in a video, Mustafa did somersaults and laughed, shouting “I really like you” to him.

Mustafa was born with a congenital dysfunction that resulted from medicines that his mom needed to take whereas pregnant with him, after she was sickened by nerve gasoline launched through the warfare in Syria. He’ll want long-term therapy to have the ability to stroll or stay extra independently. His mother and father presently carry him round and one in every of his two sisters additionally helps him round the home.

Prosthetics consultants in Italy will meet with Mustafa and his father in coming weeks to design new synthetic limbs. Mr. El Nezzel’s therapy is prone to be simpler as a result of he’s an grownup. Working with a 6-year-old shall be tougher, in line with the medical doctors and engineers of Italy’s main rehabilitation and prosthetics middle.

Gregorio Teti, the director of the power, the Centro Protesi Inail, in Vigorso di Budrio in northern Italy, stated that the daddy may get better most of his mobility in a couple of weeks.

For Mustafa, the method may very well be longer, beginning with easy prosthetics on his higher limbs which are often simpler to just accept and get accustomed to. Later, engineers will design synthetic limbs round Mustafa’s hips.

“It’s a technical but in addition a psychological studying curve,” Mr. Teti stated. “His world will change and even accepting that takes time.”

As Mustafa grows, his prosthetics should be adjusted to his altering physique.

“As a toddler, he has time on his facet,” Mr. Teti stated. “Analysis will most likely enable him to drive a automotive and get to work autonomously when he’s older.”

However he will even be going through the challenges of migrating to a overseas nation, studying a distinct language and creating a brand new life.

“Leaving your private home nation is at all times an infinite soar, however we hope to assist them discover a new house right here,” stated Anna Ferretti, who’s accountable for the town’s department of Caritas, a Catholic assist affiliation that’s providing the El Nezzels an condominium on the outskirts of Siena and can cowl their day by day monetary wants for a 12 months.

Since 2016, the Group of Sant’Egidio, a Catholic charity, along with numerous Protestant church buildings in Italy, has introduced greater than 4,300 refugees from around the globe to Italy from camps in Lebanon, Ethiopia, Greece and Libya.

Ms. Ferretti added that a few Syrian households settled in Siena years in the past and they’ll assist the 5 members of the El Nezzel household get accustomed to their new lives.

“This can be a small metropolis and the solidarity community is powerful,” she stated. “Collectively, we’re going to make it.”

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