Lebanon Landmine Survivor FC player profile: Hussein Ghandour

To mark Mine Awareness Day on 4 April of this year, Find A Better Way became the shirt sponsors of Lebanon Landmine Survivors FC, a team administered by our partners the Lebanon Welfare Association for the Handicapped (LWAH).

Over the coming months we will be sharing several of the amazing and inspirational life stories of different players from the team on the Find A Better Way blog. Today we are very pleased to introduce you to defender Hussein Ghandour, 36, who also works as a  prosthetics and corrective devices specialist when he is not on the pitch for Lebanon Landmine Survivor FC.

Here is Hussein’s story in his own words:

‘They say things happen for a reason, yet sometimes it can become overwhelming, and we fail to see the purpose of God’s plans for us. I was just a boy when it happened. I barely recall the accident itself, but I can revisit every second after that, from the long hospital stay, the surgeries and the treatment to the very long hours of rehabilitation, and the first time I actually used a prosthetic fitting.

‘At 7 years old, as the result of a landmine explosion, a landmine that looked like a small ball I thought I could play with, I lost my leg and arm. First I could not realize the impact of my loss. I was surrounded by family and medical staff, and could not understand the extent of my injury. But reality struck and it set in. I started to realize I am different. I could not play or run or enjoy my time with other kids my age. It was tough and it hurt badly. I felt like I had failed myself but my family wouldn’t let me give up and I was referred to the Lebanese Welfare Association for the Handicapped (LWAH) to start my rehabilitation journey. Little did I know then that it would become my home for the next 25 years… That it would actually become my purpose.

‘At LWAH I was taught to overcome my fear, to know that anything is possible if I put my heart and mind to make it happen. I believed in myself and decided that life will go on no matter what. I followed my rehabilitation protocol and pursued my studies at school and then majored in accounting and secured a job at LWAH. Still there was something missing. It sure wasn’t what I was supposed to do. I was happy but I was not satisfied. I knew I had to do more.

‘After the prosthetics and orthotics department launched at LWAH’s rehabilitation centre, the NBRC, I started training to become a prosthetics and orthotics specialist and I did. I attended several training courses and worked closely with other certified specialists and 10 years later I can sure say that is the career I was meant to pursue. A career where I can motivate other people, give them hope and show them there’ll be a light, and they would believe me as I have been there and I have shared each of their feelings and emotions. I understand their suffering and I am the real life example, that anyone, with a great support system, can overcome anything they decide to overcome.

‘Not only that, but I also took on sports to prove to myself that I am in control and that I could be a winner despite my disability. Through LWAH I had the chance to play football, to swim and to run marathons, in addition to many other sports. The feeling of achievement is amazing every time!

‘Being part of the Landmine Survivors Football Team, I am a changed person. A lot more confident with many more opportunities ahead of me where I can get my voice heard and express my abilities the best way I can. It is my time out, my refuge and my joy. Being at the centre of it all and the one person bringing all of my teammates together, I lately took on some of the team management duties.

‘Today I am 36 years old, a dad to two beautiful kids, a husband to an amazing wife and a best friend to many persons with disabilities I have met and I am yet to meet…

‘I am glad I lived, I am glad the explosion did not kill me there and then. I am needed. I have a purpose and I will always be up to it.’