Overview: Salma was experiencing a normal childhood until her mother noticed a change in her behavior.

Salma was only 13 years old when her mother noticed a change in her behavior. 

She is the fifth child and the youngest of her family. She experienced a normal childhood until her mother noticed that Salma was acting differently than other children her age. It became difficult for Salma to socialize with her classmates, she no longer ate or drank what her mother prepared, her ability to concentrate was reduced, and she would act violently when angry. 

Salma’s teacher advised her mother, Magdalena, to take her to a psychologist as Salma’s behaviors were not normal for her age and it affected her performance at school. Salma met with many different psychologists in Palestine with no certain diagnosis. Some attributed her behavior to autism, while others said she may be showing signs of Schizophrenia. With limited resources and hope, Salma’s parents continue to search for a cure for their youngest daughter, who is not getting any better despite taking the different medications she was prescribed. 

While Salma continues to live with her undiagnosed illness, Magdalena has also encountered a medical emergency of her own. On a typical school day, Magdalena took public transportation to go to work as an English teacher. Suddenly, she became a victim of a near-fatal car accident that put her in a coma due to a severe brain injury. Magdalena’s family saw her at the hospital unconscious, unresponsive to voices, and her brain was functioning at its lowest stage of alertness. Two months later, Magdalena woke up from her coma, but she had Post-Traumatic Amnesia (PTA), a state of confusion that caused her to lose her memory. She was not able to recognize anyone except her parents and herself as a child. 

Grateful that the tragic accident of Magdalena had not been fatal, her family remained supportive throughout her many brain surgeries and the difficult transition period to rebuild her memories. One day, when Magdalena was taking a shower, she slipped and fell in the bathroom. She broke her arm and hit her head; however, she was fortunate enough to get part of her memory back!

To be able to earn a livable income and cover the mounting bills for medical treatments, Salma’s father tried to find a second job. His primary job as a taxi driver with a rental car was the family’s only income at the time. To better support the family, Salma’s two eldest brothers had to withdraw from university and get jobs, and soon her older sister followed in their footsteps.

The family was fighting to financially recover when Salma’s elder sister was diagnosed with thyroid cancer and had to have a thyroidectomy, a surgery to remove the thyroid. The family did not expect their economic and health situation to get worse as they were already going through a lot with Salma’s undiagnosed condition and her mother and sister's treatments. However, with life stress and a collapsing financial situation, Salma’s brother was diagnosed with Mediterranean fever (FMF). 

Since March 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic has spread across the world, Palestine, and specifically Bethlehem, faced the longest quarantine of five continuous months. Shops were closed, factories were shuttered, and a lot of people lost their jobs since the economy of Bethlehem depends on tourism. As a result, Salma’s brothers and sister lost their jobs as servers at a restaurant. As for her dad, he had to return the taxi car back to its owners, and now spends his free time hoping for the pandemic and his circumstances to improve so he can work again. Magdalena was released from work as well due to a restructuring of staff, a common experience for many Palestinians that are now unemployed due to COVID-19.

With hope and love, this story is told to the world so we can help this family through their difficult times. Salma is looking for your support to help her get a diagnosis for her illness. According to consultations with local doctors, Salma has to be admitted to a qualified hospital for at least a month in order to receive fair treatment and a final diagnosis. Upon our team’s research, we conclude that Salma will need treatment in Jordan and Israel, because there are no specialized hospitals in Palestine.  As for her mother Magdalena, this appeal is to help her receive proper tests and MRI scans as she is currently suffering from a continuous headache for an unknown reason. Moreover, Salma’s sister, who has already done the thyroidectomy surgery, requires follow up consultations to make sure she is healthy and well. It will only take a moment of your time to help this family and change their lives on a medical and social level.


Help us collect 25,000 USD to support Salma and her family. 

" Because it's time to act BIG, FAZAA, for Humanity" 


Note: The names of the characters in this story are not real; in order to avoid hurting families' feelings and to preserve privacy.