One man shows Afghans how to deal with the physical and psychologically disabling consequences of years of war
11 AUGUST 2013 | KABUL, AFGHANISTAN
At 26, Ahmad Shah Aazami thought his life was over. A landmine had blown off both his arms and the young man felt despondent and helpless.
“I cannot tell you how scared I was,” he recalls, “for a long time, I felt that there was nothing I could do and this was my destiny.”
Eventually though, with great strength of will and USAID support, Mr Aazami helped establish the Community Center for Disabled, which champions the rights of disabled people. Now, 49, Mr Aazami is the organization’s deputy director of programs, finding it fulfilling to devise ways to prevent the disabled from being ostracised by society.
As an organization that is overwhelmingly staffed by disabled people, the Center is seen as a good example of what they can contribute.
At a recent workshop on disability, Mr Aazami and his colleagues were presented as role models. Mr Aazami said it was important for the disabled to challenge discrimination and tell society, “don’t ignore our abilities, don’t look at us as weak people.”
Mohammad Kundal Quraishi was one of those who attended the workshop. He said he was encouraged by Mr Aazmi’s story and the message to reintegrate into his community. “The information about our national laws and international conventions (on disability), all of them signed by the Afghan government, give us strength and hope that we are not a forgotten people.”
Last updated: December 26, 2013