Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Tuesday, March 31st, 2020

Our Response to Disabled


Our Response to Disabled

The decades of war in Afghanistan has influenced every aspect of Afghan life. A part from major impacts on political and economic spheres, there has been great impact on individual level as well. There are so many examples of the people who are either psychologically or physically affected by the war. A considerable number of the people who suffer from different sorts of psychological problems and the ones physically impaired are the evidence that how cruel the horrors of war can be – add to these the myriads of social and economic problems.

While going through news last night I came across the following; Sikandar, a resident of the Kart-i-Naw area of Kabul, who lost both legs from the knee said: "We have given our blood for the country's liberty, we are the victims of the war, but the government pays no attention to us though we are in a miserable condition." His monthly government payments are not adequate for him, he said, and are barely enough for a kid's biscuit. He has therefore opened a boutique to earn money. He remains homeless and urged the government to provide a group home for the disabled. He has a wife, two sons, and one daughter, and also supports his 17-year-old brother and his blind aunt.

Sikandar passes travels 100 meters to his shop every morning in a used wheelchair that is difficult to move. He wants an automatic wheelchair. He said the monthly rent for his shop is 5000 Afghanis (about $106) and he does not earn much money. He urged the government to stop making empty promises.

Amena Azimi, who lost her foot in a rocket strike during the civil war in the 1990s, said her financial condition, too, is unstable. She works with an international organization for the disabled in Kabul, and her monthly salary of about 12,000 Afghanis ($250) does not meet her family's requirements.

She said: "The main problem for the disabled society's unawareness of their capacity." She said there is no culture of assistance and sympathy for the disabled and that the Ministry of Social Affairs has not improved the situation.

She hopes that the provisions in the Convention on the Rights of Disabled Persons will be enforced rather than remain on paper alone.
This clearly shows the plight of miserable souls like that of Sikandar and Amena Azimi. At the present, the percentage of disabled people in Afghan population is about 2.7% and most of them suffer from lack of facilities. They are in pathetic position and there are not sensitive ears to listen to their shrieks.

Both the government and the people do not respond appropriately to them. Though Afghanistan has signed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, tangible steps are yet to be taken in that regard. In accordance to the convention people with disabilities must be provided all the opportunity of having proper treatment and the feasibilities to live their daily lives. Unfortunately the government has been suffering on both the fronts. The medical facilities for the disabled are meager.

ospitals for them are not adequate. The existing ones suffer seriously from the lack of modern equipments. There are no new methods of treatment. The compensations or improvements that are possible to be made in their lives are not recognized appropriately and go unchecked. Further, the endeavors of government to assist them in their daily lives need to be strengthened and supported voluminously.

As depicted in the case of Sikandar and Amena, the financial compensation is not enough to support their families. Currently the disabled people receive about 400 Afghanis a month from the government, which seems negligible, keeping in mind the jumping inflation; even more important than the compensation is the job opportunities and vocational training. That will assist the disabled people in standing on their own and live a life of dignity and respect.

They can not just depend upon the favor of the government - If the government wills they get their share, if not they remain deprived. The better opportunities of making them stand on their own can make them equal to their fellow citizens. Too much dependence on the favors of the government or fellow citizens can really cripple them. They will get used to it and avoid hard work. Some of them may even go for begging. It is not difficult to find the disabled people begging on the roads, taking advantage of the sympathy of the people around.

Another important issue in this regard is the response of the fellow citizens towards the people with disabilities. Instead of helping them out (this helping does not suggest that they should be given alms or something similar), most of the people further torture them by mistreating them. There are so many occasions when such people are socially neglected. As they can not do the things the way the other people do they are considered awkward and even called with various weird names.

The families, as most of them suffer from economic problems, curse their children with disabilities and treat them as burden on the family. Many are forced to go for begging. Moreover, it is difficult to find people who readily get into any sort of relation with the disabled people. Especially, the females who are with disabilities do not get real chances of getting married. They remain neglected throughout their lives and suffer from severe kind of social alienation.

Keeping Sikandar and Amena in consideration as examples it is necessary to understand the difficulties faced by the people with disabilities. Whether the disabled are so, naturally or because of disasters or wars they should be responded appropriately. The government has to make sure that they get all the facilities for their treatment and modern facilities are available for them free of cost. And they get feasibilities that may help them in living their daily lives about normally. On the other hand there should be change in the attitude through which the fellow citizens treat the disabled people. Above all they should be considered human as well.

Dilawar Sherzai is the permanent writer of the Daily outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at outlookafghanistan@gmail.com

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