A Beacon of Hope
Twenty little faces stare straight at me, some shy and others smiling with a curious look on their face. They jump out of their seats to be polite and greet me. When I say hello, they reply in unison: "Hello, Miss!" My heart melts.
I am standing in a classroom in Tripoli, in northern Lebanon, where UNHCR and the Norwegian Refugee Council are providing classes to Syrian refugee children who don't go to school.
In the front row is a little boy with sparkly eyes who is wearing a bright yellow henley shirt. He smiles at me. Next to him rest two crutches. I approach him, expecting to see a cast on his leg. I figure he must have fallen whilst playing.
"Diyaa is one of the most confident children in class. He doesn't allow his injury to be a disability."
Then I realise that I can only see one leg under his shorts. The other one is missing. I smile, but inside I feel a deep sadness. This kid stands out. Not because of his injury, but because of the fire in his eyes.
I want to know more about him, but I don't want to make a fuss in front of the other children. I say goodbye and walk out of the class. Later I find out his name is Diyaa. It suits him perfectly. Diyaa means "shining a bright light." And that's just what he does.
Diyaa lost his leg in a bomb explosion a year ago. His teacher told me, "Diyaa is one of the most confident children in class. He doesn't allow his injury to be a disability." She said they were worried he wouldn't be able to go up the steps, but he said, "No, I want to go to school. I can do it." And sure enough, he does it without anyone's help.
Once again, I find myself humbled by a child. Diyaa is only eight years old, but there is no doubt that he has the strength of a man beyond his years.