Thanks to a generous member of the Bankstown community, a 16-year-old refugee boy with cerebral palsy has been gifted a much-needed electric bed that has meant he no longer needs to spend 18 hours a day on his mother’s lap.
The boy, whose family was originally from Iraq and is now living in Warwick Farm in western Sydney, previously spent most of the day in his mother’s arms because it was not safe for him to be in a normal bed.
“No one has ever done something like this for us before,” said the boy’s father, Tarek Kumair Suhaim Zuhairy. “We were in shock when we received the call from Natalie telling us a complete stranger was buying our son a bed.
“For 16 years my wife held our son in her lap refusing to put him down because we did not have a safe bed for him, she has severe back pain from lifting him up and putting him down. This bed has given us our freedom back.”
Settlement Services International (SSI) and the NSW Refugee Health Service were working together to secure a bed for the boy, when Natalie Taha, an SSI Team Leader, heard about the family’s struggles, she put a call-out to her Facebook contacts, hoping to raise some funds to go towards the $767 bed.
“One girl came forward and said she’d donate the whole amount,” said Ms Taha. “I didn’t expect that. The generosity of some people is amazing.”
Within two days, the donor had paid the money to the online shop to purchase the bed for the family, who have been SSI clients since arriving in Australia recently.
Within five days, the family had received the bed, which has features such as high side rails and ends, a quick-opening mechanism for urgent access, washable, breathable padding on the rails and no gaps between the mattress and the frame.
The donor, Manell, who runs a small business called Bridal Bling, said she valued giving back to the community.
Manell also went to the family’s home to meet them. “When the bed was delivered and this beautiful soul appeared at my door with a big smile, very humble, I could not thank her enough,” said Mr Zuhairy.
“We thank everybody involved. My son is smiling, my family is smiling; we have not smiled in a very long time and this beautiful girl put a smile on each of our faces.”
SSI recently launched its fund-raising website, www.ssi.org.au/donate. Those who donate to SSI will help fund initiatives that directly support refugees and asylum seekers living in NSW.