“My first experience with the computer was challenging. But being able to create art again was the best thing that has happened to me after the accident."
Mohammed broke his neck in an accident when he was only 16 years old. “I was young and reckless,” says the Lebanese youth, who lives in Tripoli in Northern Lebanon. “It was excruciating for me to lose the use of my body. Becoming paralyzed presented new challenges, not just for myself, but for my family. The worst thing was handling the pain and trying to keep my spirits up.
"Before the accident, I would play sports every day. Afterward, I could barely move my hands. I had also been an avid sketch artist and painter. Art was my escape. After the accident, I missed the feeling of using my hands to draw.
"At times, it felt unbearable. But I never lost hope.
“When my treatment first began I had hoped to be able to walk within a year, but life didn’t work out that way. Years passed. My new goal was to simply regain the use of my hands.
“After much therapy, I succeeded in moving my hands! I still couldn’t write or draw, or even hold a pen, but the feeling itself was fantastic. With months of physiotherapy, I was able to control my fingers and manipulate objects.
“Finally, I could use my electric wheelchair to move through rooms and around the neighborhood. It felt like going from hell to heaven.
“One of my doctors introduced me to Anera’s vocational course in graphic design. At first I hesitated to register, but my doctors encouraged me to give it a try. Remembering the love I once had for sketching and painting, I gave it a shot.
“My first experience with the computer was challenging. But being able to create art again was the best thing that has happened to me after the accident.
“I was having fun again! I could put a crocodile’s head on a frog’s body and draw lines and create colorful backgrounds - all without needing to use a paint brush.
“The program changed my life. Thanks to the vocational course, I can return to my dream of creating art and working in graphic design. Now I can look people in the eye and tell them to never give up on their goals.”
The graphic design vocational course Mohammed participated in is implemented with Anera’s local partner, Al Rahma For Special Needs - Youth Islamic Organization.