Rafik, 11, is in the fifth grade in Gaza City and says he loves school. “Arabic is my favorite subject,” he says. He also enjoys playing soccer.
Rafik and his mother are at the Society of the Physically Disabled today.
“We moved recently to this area and we heard about an association for people with disabilities near our neighborhood that takes care of children like my son,” Rafik’s mother says.
For years, Rafik has endured eczema on his legs and body.
His mother says doctors have not offered many options for treatment. “We took him to many dermatologists, but they all told us that he would grow out of it,” she says.
For Rafik, the condition is more than just a minor irritation. “It hurts me a lot. My whole body itches,” he says.
Thanks to a generous medical aid donation by Direct Relief, Anera recently distributed petroleum jelly and other medical supplies like cotton balls, syringes and sharps containers to 12 clinics and hospitals across Gaza, including the Society of the Physically Disabled. The topical moisturizer is used to promote the healing of minor scrapes and burns, and to treat conditions like dry skin and diaper rash.
For the last month – since Anera delivered the donated moisturizer – Rafik has been using the petroleum jelly to ease his symptoms.
“We noticed the difference from the day we began,” his mother says.
She says the petroleum jelly available in local pharmacies is of a lower quality. And given how much Rafik relies upon it to sooth his skin, it helps a lot that the family doesn’t need to pay for it. Because his condition covers much of his body, he needs to apply large quantities – about one container per day.
Rafik’s family lives on a very limited income. His father has been unemployed since losing an eye. The whole family depends on the earnings of his grandfather, who works at a bakery.
Rafik's mother says that “Now his skin is improving and the itching is much reduced.”