A prominent recent story in the Spanish and Valencian press has been that of Osman, the little seven-year old Afghan boy with cerebral palsy who was in the Idomeni refugee camp: he is now living in the Valencia region, thanks to the work of the charity Bomberos en Acción (“Firefighters in Action”) and the support of a petition in Spain which attracted many thousands of signatures.
Less well-known is the role played by our CEU Physiotherapy graduate Julio Araujo and so we’d like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to him. He went to Idomeni with the association called AYRE, which was founded in his hometown of Huelva, in order to work alongside those brave Spanish firefighters and to provide physiotherapeutic care to the refugees there. The refugees were from many different countries, suffering from a variety of injuries and diseases, some of them devastating, such as microcephaly, bullet wounds, or cerebral palsy. The latter was the condition affecting the other major figure of this heart-warming story, Osman, with whom Julio used his skill as a physiotherapist during his time at the refugee camp, between 24th April and 10th May.
I found out that Julio had gone back to Idomeni and since then I’ve spoken to him by phone several times. I just can’t get out of my head all the things he told me about that heart-rending place, about Osman and his loving family, who left Afghanistan looking for somewhere they could live with dignity and safety in this crazy world. You can see both heaven and hope reflected in Osman’s beautiful eyes.
Julio told me how he treated Osman twice a day as his personal physiotherapist in the tent that served as this family of five’s improvised home. He focused mainly on postural control and on training Osman’s parents on appropriate postural habits and care. Sometimes, he was able to do this through interpreters but most of the time he had to use universal body language – his lovely family speak no English or Spanish.
Osman was fortunate in that our courageous physiotherapist was able to see through his disability and perceive his enormous potential.
We’re very much looking forward to the moment at which he can come up from Huelva and visit us here in Valencia, and see the wonderful Osman, who we’re sure will break out into a great smile when he see his very own hero again, Julio Araujo.
Julio: you’re a role model and an utter hero to all of us!