95.3 / 88.5 FM Grand Rapids and 95.3 FM Muskegon
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
Mutually Inclusive
A WGVU initiative in partnership with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation using on-air programs and community events to explore issues of inclusion and equity.

Iraqi Child Survivor of USA Missile in GR for Prosthetic

hamzah__1_.jpg
Kayla Tucker
/

An Iraqi boy injured by American missiles has come back for more medical attention thanks to a Grand Rapids-based nonprofit.

Hamzah Al-Daini was playing outside one April afternoon in 2008, his father came home and parked his car. Suddenly, an American missile fell and upturned their lives. Hamzah was six and he lost his leg that day.

Around that time, Grand Rapids community members founded Healing Children of Conflict (HCC), inspired by peace activist Cole Miller, and raised funds to bring Hamzah to the United States for treatment.

“And we were inspired by that talk, and several of us thought, we could do that here because in Grand Rapids we have a really strong medical community with top notch facilities and we have a strong Arab-American community and a strong peace community with churches, temples and masjids.”

That’s Doug Howard, a founding member of HCC. In 2011 Hamzah got plastic surgery and a prosthetic. Since then, he’s become Iraq’s top para-competition swimmer for his age group, and today, having outgrown his prosthesis he is back in Grand Rapids, at Mary Free Bed to get a new one.

I asked him how his experiences have affected his view of the United States over time.

“I had hate in my heart because of my injury. But when I came here, I found things are different. The people I met here in the US dealt with me as a human being and dealt with me on that basis not on my religion or my origin or my color.”

Related Content