Paralympics sports helps Syrian boy look beyond disability

This isn’t a marketing story as such, but I felt it was one worth telling, I think we should publicise the good work these organisations are doing. Two years ago, a bomb attack on his home in the city of Homs left Najib Alhaj Ali paralysed from the waist down. In spite his injury, Najib and his family made their escape from the devestated city, and braved a crossing across the Mediterranean Sea on a flimsy rubber dinghy from Turkey to Greece. The family were eventually granted asylum there in 2016.

For the past two years, the 13-year-old Najib has been using a wheelchair. Like many people in his situation he found it tough to come to terms with his injury, add to this the prospect of life in exile away from his home city also dented his confidence. 

Now, however, as a refugee in Greece, Najib has discovered a new talent which is helping to redefine his future and allowing him to come to terms with both his injuries and his future.

Last November Najib signed up for a pilot Paralympic education project managed by the Hellenic Paralympic Committee, the Agitos Foundation and UNHCR. The project is helping to empower refugees with disabilities – particularly the young – by giving them the chance to learn sports train and even compete at the national Paralympic level. For Najib, the experience has been transformative, giving him a reason to strive. Moreover, it has given the boy, now only 13, the means to once again have something to look forward to in the future.


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