Safa loves a city she has only read about in books and seen in pictures. Paris. She passionately describes the Eiffel Tower, how she loves French, dreams of living in Paris and walking along its cobblestone streets. However, as is the case with so many refugee families, Safa’s family found themselves impoverished and living in unsafe conditions. Their shelter caught fire. Safa ran out, but thought that one of her siblings was trapped inside so she threw herself back into the building. It was Safa who ended up trapped inside and suffered serious burns. She struggled with strangers’ stares, dropped out of school. Now she has her dreams back, she wants to be a lawyer and help the poor, and she still wants to move to Paris!


Years ago, Safa and her siblings were all peacefully sleeping on a cold winter night, cuddled up next to the heater trying to keep warm, when all of a sudden Safa awoke to the screams of her family. The house was on fire. She didn’t really understand what was going on. “I don’t remember what happened to me. It often feels as though I was asleep, and when I woke up, I was burned.”

When her father speaks about what happened, things become clearer. He said that Safa woke up, and managed to escape out of the house. In the confusion, the smoke, and the noise, she thought that one of her siblings was trapped in the house. She threw herself back inside of the house to save her siblings, only to realize she was the one trapped inside… Everyone had already escaped.

She tried to get back out but to no avail. Her last memory is thinking that she would die as the flames got closer and closer to her.


Safa has been on her healing journey with INARA for years.

 “Safa is courageous,” her father tells us. “Not only because she went in to try and save her siblings, but also because of how well she deals with her situation. Yes, she struggles to cope with the staring, and with the pain. But she is strong. She won’t let this stop her.”

A few days ago, Safa happily told INARA’s team she finally graduated from school and is thinking about her different options going to university. She talks about studying, traveling, taking photography classes and living new adventures. This young girl is full of life and hope, and wants to show everyone around her that her burn injuries, no matter how big and scary they look, won’t stop her from living life to the fullest and enjoying every minute of it! 

When INARA first met Safa she asked for us not to take a picture of her face while she was wearing the mask. After a year she was happy to pose for pictures.

Safa happily posing for a picture, showing her face. 2016