Crippen looks at the reality of access in Afghanistan / 30 September 2009
I recently received a message from Fahim Khairy who writes about the conditions for Disabled people in Afghanistan.
“In the third world countries, as example in Afghanistan where I came from, the word disability has a very different meaning. People have unlike perceptions about it and always see it in more negative light.
“The day when an Afghan is hit by a rocket and falls down bleeding, people will immediately forget that situation and say the person is under God’s punishment. Although God did not fire that rocket so it’s the person’s fate receiving the punishment through God’s will for his or her bad actions. It’s the culture. Unfortunately, it's not easy to change.
“When I travelled to Afghanistan after seven years I anticipated seeing everybody enjoying the new democratic regime however I disappointedly found out the opposite.
“I really wondered why I couldn’t see wheelchairs in the streets, markets or any part of the cities despite the fact that there were millions of disabled people living in the country. It was clear that lack of accessibility ruthlessly forced every wheelchair use to stay at home.
“Being in a wheelchair in Afghanistan at every new and old building, the person needs to be carried by four or five people, in order to get up the stairs. I almost forgot being a disabled person after starting a new life in America although as soon as I arrived at Kabul Airport, I suddenly realized that I am a needy person. Now I have to look for others sorrowfully to help me get up any staircases.
“How can we fight this misery when no disabled person is able to come out from his or her home and moreover discuss the matters with leaders and politicians? I assume that if every disabled Afghan had a computer, a power wheelchair like me, they conclusively would stand next to me to fight for a change.
“I had the opportunity that allowed me to educate myself learning a new language and the use of technology. I have been learning English since I came to the US in 2003. I certainly believe that if we had these opportunities in Afghanistan, every disabled Afghan would be able to live a life without affliction and poverty.”
You can find out more about Fahim and his involvement with other Afghan Disabled people on his Facebook site
Keywords: access issues,other cultures