Family Life

Matt and the Salman Family from Iraq

posted: 01/17/11
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Matt Roloff and teh Salman family in Iraq. See more pictures of the Roloff family.

Find out more about the Salman family from Iraq - and how you can help them receive the medical care they so urgently need - by visiting the International Dwarf Advocacy Association's website:

The IDAA is a charity established to help dwarfs around the world in serious financial and medical need. The IDAA is a 501(c)3, so your contributions will be tax deductible.

Matt's Trips to Iraq

Previously on Little People, Big World, Matt Roloff made the difficult and dangerous journey to Baghdad to help get medical attention for an Iraqi family with three dwarf children.

Escorted by U.S. troops, Matt met the entire family. The parents and three of their five children are average height. However, Bara'a, Ali, and Saja are little and suffer from physical disabilities.

Despite the language barrier, Matt immediately connected with the children, who generously offered kisses, hugs and smiles.

Earlier this year, Matt and an orthopedic surgeon returned to the Middle East to perform leg straightening operations on Ali and Bara'a, two of the dwarf children Matt met on his first trip to Iraq. They traveled to an Italian military hospital in southern Iraq, where dozens of Iraqi little people have gathered to be diagnosed by the doctor.

Meet Bara'a, Ali and Saja

BARA'A (Age: 8)

Unlike her older brother, 8-year-old Bara'a tends to be shy and bashful until she gets to know you. Much of Bara'a's time is spent studying in school and helping take care of her older sister. Only when her homework and chores are done will she join her brother to play in their yard or around the neighborhood.

ALI (Age: 9)

Ali is the most outgoing of his family. When guests come to his family's home, Ali quickly greets them with a big smile and a firm handshake. As the family's friendship has grown with U.S. troops and other Americans, Ali has taken the most interest in learning English, and proudly teaches Arabic in return.

Despite his physical disability, Ali likes to run and play like any other child, and is trying to master the art of soccer. Despite a childhood in which he has experienced war and extreme poverty, Ali's most endearing qualities are optimism, a beautiful spirit and a big smile for everyone he meets.

SAJA (Age: 13)

Although she is the oldest child in the family, Saja is also the smallest. Despite her dwarfism and disabilities, Saja was an excellent student and always enjoyed walking to school with her brother and sisters. Unfortunately, a fall permanently damaged her already-compromised spinal chord and Saja is now partially paralyzed and unable to walk or sit upright. If Saja does not undergo a complex neurological spinal fusion procedure soon, her condition could take her life. Saja's story is a cautionary tale for both Ali and Bara'a -- if they don't get spinal fusions done in the near future, they will likely suffer the same fate.

"The opportunity to help this family in Iraq was both humbling and exciting, especially seeing first hand what our troops are going through. It's awe-inspiring," said Matt.

Matt's Nonprofit Organization

Matt founded the nonprofit organization Coalition for Dwarf Advocacy. CoDa advocates for little people and provides assistance in the areas of health care, employment, education adoption, and accessibility. For more information about CoDA, visit*

*This link provides additional information about the nonprofit organization Coalition for Dwarf Advocacy. Discovery does not control, verify, endorse, or guarantee the accuracy of the content or the views expressed in the linked website or the website's business practices (including privacy policies). Discovery incurs no obligation, responsibility or liability in connection with the linked site, any goods or services associated with the site or any personal data obtained or collected through the linked site.

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