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The Sound of Peace

Now that he can hear, Abdu is learning to speak Arabic and German.

Now that he can hear, Abdu is learning to speak Arabic and German. © UNHCR/Gordon Welters

Every morning, Ahmad gently wakes his six-year-old son, Abdu. Then he places hearing aids over the boy’s ears and asks him what he can hear. It is a ritual they cherish, a moment when they remember just how much their lives have changed.

Ahmad and Abdu are Syrian refugees who fled to Lebanon over three years ago, when the war drove them from their home in Aleppo. But life in Beirut was tough for Ahmad, who struggled to find work and had to live in a tiny flat with 10 other family members. And there was no way to give Abdu, who was born deaf, the medical care he needed.

Hope came when the family heard they would move to Germany, through the country’s Humanitarian Admission Programme. Now they live in the town of Wächtersbach, near Frankfurt. Within months of their arrival, Abdu underwent cochlear implant surgery for the second time and received two new hearing aids.

Abdu’s hearing is now at 90 per cent, and he is learning to articulate his words more clearly—in both Arabic and German. He is a child discovering the sound of peace for the first time.