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  • 14 Jul, 2024

Celine, a young Syrian girl who regained her hearing in Turkey

Celine, a young Syrian girl who regained her hearing in Turkey

Celine and Aslan, Syrian siblings both with hearing impairments, faced a delay in Celine's cochlear implant surgery—until recently.

Reyhanli, Turkey – Nearly four-year-old Celine Abu al-Zumar was moments away from hearing for the first time, leaving her mother Fatima al-Essa near tears of joy.

"In less than three months, the dream became reality," Fatima exclaimed.

Celine had finally been approved for cochlear implant surgery, following her brother Aslan's procedure in April.

Fatima, a 26-year-old Syrian from Idlib, recalled her initial sorrow upon learning that both her children, Celine and five-and-a-half-year-old Aslan, were born with hearing impairments. Aslan's surgery, funded by the relief organization Alameen in Turkey, brought immense happiness when he responded to sounds after the implant was activated. Yet, Fatima's heart ached for Celine, who had to wait.

Aslan, nearing the age limit for eligibility, was prioritized for the cochlear implant program. Fatima's focus shifted to Celine upon their return from Turkey, aware of her daughter's growing awareness of her brother's newfound ability to hear.

Now, it was Celine’s turn, and Fatima eagerly anticipated her daughter’s journey, with Aslan steadfastly by her side.

Aslan and Celine, both bright and engaging despite their hearing challenges, brought smiles to the staff at Reyhanli hospital where they underwent surgery.

“Celine quickly charms everyone with her sweet interactions, making friends wherever she goes,” remarked Rama Asfari, an Alameen staff member.

Throughout Celine's surgery, Aslan demonstrated unwavering support, fully aware of its significance.

Sitting beside Fatima outside the operating room, Aslan remained somber, focused on the door as he awaited his sister’s return. Three anxious hours later, Celine emerged groggy from anesthesia, with Aslan staying close until she woke.

Fatima reflected on how Aslan had changed since his own surgery, becoming gentler toward Celine. His tenderness during her operation provided comfort to Fatima.

Both Aslan and Celine benefited from a program by Alameen in collaboration with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center.

Fatima expressed immense gratitude the day after Celine’s surgery, as they tested her new hearing device for the first time.

“I am the happiest person alive today,” she said tearfully, envisioning a future where her children could hear her voice and each other’s.

“My heart goes out to the families waiting for their turn. I pray they experience this joy soon,” she added.