"The Difference Between Lightning and a Lightning Bug"

Collection with 21 media items created by Giovanni Diffidenti

11 Nov 2013 05:00

Disability situation in Afghanistan is extremely severe, it calls for the implementation of urgent policies and interventions.
This quotation from Mark Twain, an American author and humorist, refers to the abyss between two different sources of light. The powerful flash of lightning against the faint glow of the firefly.The same analogy can be applied to the very different situations that persons with disabilities face up to in their lifetime and the way they handle them.

Disability Afghanistan Kabul Amputation

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"The Difference Between Lightning and...
Kabul, Afghanistan
By Giovanni Diffidenti
02 Dec 2013

The Disability Situation in Afghanistan

Community Centre for the Disabled (CCD), an Afghan NGO, is a resource centre is one of the leading disability organizations that has been promoting the rights of Persons with Disabilities since 2004. To this end, CCD maintains many activities.

In Afghanistan, 2.7% of the total population have very severe disabilities that call for the implementation of urgent policies and interventions. If other categories are added, this rate increases to well over 15%, as indicated in the 2011 World Health Organization disability report.

Based on the Social Protection Strategy and the National Risks and Vulnerability Assessment, one of the ‘Priorities at Risk Groups’ in Afghanistan is represented by Persons with Disabilities (PwDs). These people continue to undergo hefty challenges; no access to public services, society's negative attitudes, unemployment and physical accessibility are just some of the hardships. To improve this situation, disability needs to be given high priority in all policies of the government, private sector and civil society; and should be monitored for implementation. Providing direct enablement support to PwDs is another priority.

This quotation from Mark Twain, an American author and humorist, refers to the abyss between two different sources of light. The powerful flash of lightning against the faint glow of the firefly.The same analogy can be applied to the very different situations that persons with disabilities face up to in their lifetime and the way they handle them.

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Kabul, Afghanistan
By Giovanni Diffidenti
27 Oct 2013

A mentally disturbed man is stretched out on the pavement in one of the main streets in west Kabul. He receives no assistance. In Afghanistan people with mental disabilities are among the most vulnerable groups of the community. So far several NGOs and government agencies have provided a few services for mental disabilities, but their programs fall far from meeting the needs of these people and there are no specific actions taken to alleviate the problem.

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Bamyan, Afghanistan
By Giovanni Diffidenti
30 Oct 2013

Sayed, 25 years old, is a landmine survivor and double amputee. Here, Sayed is climbing a hill on his way to the grocery shop where he works part-time in the city of Bamyan. During the day he frequents university, where he recently enrolled himself in the faculty of psychology. Twice a day he walks 4.6 km in order to attend the course.

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Kabul, Afghanistan
By Giovanni Diffidenti
26 Oct 2013

Malik Mohammad, 20 years old, shows how he can walk on his hands at the Ghazi Stadium in the city of Kabul. Malik is a landmine survivor who lost both of his legs, near the airport in Kabul. Before the accident Malik worked in a bakery. After the accident he tried many different sports including basketball, skiing, swimming, surfing and running. But his favorite is swimming and lately running. His next competition is the 2014 Asian Paralympics Games in South Korea, where he will compete as a swimmer.

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Kabul, Afghanistan
By Giovanni Diffidenti
23 Oct 2013

Rabya (right) knits some gloves while her sister Fatima looks after their smaller brother in a small rented flat in the city of Kabul. Rabya was born with one arm and one leg, but she has always been very active. When she lived in her hometown, in the province of Daikondi, she had a sewing machine and managed to make a decent living. One day her family sold it to raise money to move to Kabul in the hopes of a better life. Now they can hardly pay the rent and they are looking for a way to buy a new sewing machine. Rabya is a beneficiary of the Community Center for the Disabled.

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Kabul, Afghanistan
By Giovanni Diffidenti
27 Oct 2013

Zubair, 28 years old, is training in a private swimming pool in the city of Kabul. Zubair lost his hand in a landmine when he was seven years old. Now he is a member of the national Paralympics team as a swimmer but he also practices other disciplines, including Taekwondo and running. In 2012 he won a silver medal at the Southeast Asian Paralympics games in Taekwondo.

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Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan
By Giovanni Diffidenti
08 Nov 2013

Sakyna, 18 years old, (left) and Fatima, 22 years old. The girls weave carpets in the village of Aliabad, in Mazar-e-Sharif. Sakyna has cerebral palsy and her left leg is shorter and weaker. Fatima became mute after an infection in her throat. Khawar, 34 years old (not in the photo), trains them how to weave carpets. The project is organized by the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan (SCA). Sakyna uses orthotics and a walking stick to move around.

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Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan
By Giovanni Diffidenti
08 Nov 2013

Fatima, 25 years old, prepares the oven to bake bread for her family and neighbours. Fatima suffered a serious infection in her face when she was nine years old and she lost part of her chin bone. She is paid 10 Afghani for every loaf of bread. Before the infection she worked as a shepherd in the Province of Ghur, her home. People avoid survivors of facial diseases. Nobody wants to speak to them, and they are left isolated. People don’t even want to look at them. When Fatima’s brother got married, he decided to offer Fatima as wife to his future brother-in-law (an Afghan tradition known as Badalì). She is now married with two children.

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Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan
By Giovanni Diffidenti
08 Nov 2013

Razya, 31 years old, with her daughter Hasina, 3 years old. Here, she is begging in one of the main streets in Mazar-e-Sharif. Since giving birth to her daughter, Razya has not been able to walk. When she became ill she didn’t have enough money to pay a doctor so her health got worse, leaving her almost paralyzed. Her husband sells vegetables in the street but he doesn’t make enough money to support the family.

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Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan
By Giovanni Diffidenti
09 Nov 2013

Portrait of Nickbakht, 21 years old, double arm amputee. This image was taken in her home in the village of Aliabod, in Mazar-e-Sharif. Nickbakht was in a car accident seven years ago when all of the family was travelling to Kabul. Both her parents died and her younger brother has difficulty walking. In the first year Nickbakht was depressed, but she managed to overcome her disability and now she is the bread-winner of the family. Until six months ago she was working as a counsellor and providing peer support for the Afghan Landmine Survivors Organization (ALSO). Now she is unemployed, but she still does lot of social volunteer work. Nickbakht is a very smart girl and hopes to continue studying.

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Bamyan, Afghanistan
By Giovanni Diffidenti
01 Nov 2013

Khulam Ali, 29 years old, landmine survivor and double amputee. Twice a day, Khulam walks 5 km to and from work in the province of Bamyan. He runs a small grocery shop and he manages to make enough for a living. Occasionally he finds people who give him a lift, but most of the time he has to walk. Khulam Ali is having problems with his prostheses and has been trying to get new ones for the past four months.

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Kabul, Afghanistan
By Giovanni Diffidenti
28 Oct 2013

Safar, 30 years old, in his house in the North of Kabul. Safar has a congenital disease. He generally stays at home on his own without any recreation or stimulation from the outside world. He has been suffering with a sore throat for a long time but the family cannot find a cure. Quite often in Afghanistan, families who have members with a disability prefer not to talk about the person or let them appear in public.

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Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan
By Giovanni Diffidenti
07 Nov 2013

Bibi Ko, 65 years old. Here she is travelling back home to the Balkh district, 15 km from Mazar-e-Sharif, after spending a day begging around the city. She has been complaining about her left leg. A shrapnel bomb wounded her during the war 17 years ago. She is alone and doesn’t have any support.

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Bamyan, Afghanistan
By Giovanni Diffidenti
31 Oct 2013

Sattar, 15 years old, totally blind. Sattar walks along an abandoned house near his home in the village of Shibarto, in the Bamiyan province. He has never gone to school, he always stays at home and his family has not provided him any form of ID yet. Sometimes families living in remote areas are unaware they can register with the government and receive a small pension for disabled family members.

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Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan
By Giovanni Diffidenti
31 Jan 2014

Fatima, 35 years old, sitting at home next to her mother-in-law in Mazar-e-Sharif. Fatima lost her hand to a rocket 14 years ago. She recently married Yar Mohammad, also disabled in both feet. She supports the entire family by knitting traditional dresses. She would love to go back to reading and writing classes, which she did before getting married, but currently no organizations are helping her.

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Kabul, Afghanistan
By Giovanni Diffidenti
23 Oct 2013

Portrait of Norya inside the Dasht-e-barchi sub office of the Community Center for the Disabled (CCD), an Afghan NGO, in Kabul. Norea is an inspiring table tennis player who won first prize in a national competition where she was also awarded a trophy for her force of character. She is a member of the National Afghan Paralympics team. When CCD first met with Norya she was very shy because of her disability. After receiving counselling, CCD sent her to a private school where she discovered table tennis. Norya trained very hard and was selected to go to the London Paralympics in 2012, however she didn’t go because her family wouldn’t allow her to participate.

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Bamyan, Afghanistan
By Giovanni Diffidenti
31 Oct 2013

Bamyan cemetery.
Mohammed, 13 years old, prays at the grave of his cousin and best friend Haji Ahmad, 15 years old. Haji was an orphan and a Paraplegic and he lived with his sister. The rest of the family didn’t want to know about him. Before he died, Haji hadn’t been to school for almost a year because his wheelchair was broken. His sister attempted to contact different organizations to get a new wheelchair but she never succeeded. In this period Haji stayed at home and was depressed.

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Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan
By Giovanni Diffidenti
06 Nov 2013

Hafiza, 60 years old, awaits food distribution. The World Food Program (WFP) supplies food to the Afghan Association of the Blind in Mazar-e-Sharif. Hafiza was wounded in an eye when a rocket landed near her house during the Taliban war. The food is distributed to poor people who are either blind or visually impaired. With winter coming soon, it is very difficult for them to survive.

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Kabul, Afghanistan
By Giovanni Diffidenti
22 Oct 2013

Ahmad Sha, 55 years old, deputy director and founder of the Community Center for the Disabled (CCD), an Afghan NGO. Here he is checking a new proposal in his office in Kabul. Haji is a landmine survivor who lost both hands to a landmine in the Nangarhar province. Haji very proudly states that four of his children go to university; one of them is actually attending two university courses – he is studying social science and engineering.

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Mazar-e-Sharif, Afghanistan
By Giovanni Diffidenti
06 Nov 2013

Portrait of Shukrya (left) and Nuria at the Afghan Association of the Blind (AAB) in Mazar-e-Sharif. Both sisters are blind and they have been attending the Association for the past four years. So far they have learned to read and write. Before coming they stayed at home on their own without doing anything. “Our lives have changed completely since coming to AAB, we are much happier”, says Nuria.

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Kabul, Afghanistan
By Giovanni Diffidenti
27 Oct 2013

Mobin, 5 years old. Here he raises his eyes to the ceiling in his house in Kabul, as a typical gesture. Mobin was born with Autism, and doesn’t understand the concept of danger. The family has taken him to see seven specialists, but nothing has changed. They all say that their son can’t be treated in Afghanistan and should be taken abroad. The family is concerned about Mobin’s future because Afghanistan has no educational services for Autism. Mobin is a CCD beneficiary.