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Skiing in Afghanistan 001
Bamiyan
By Christina Feldt
19 Feb 2014

Bamiyan, Afghanistan Sultan Ali tries on his homemade wooden skis. "Our wooden skis are not professional at all but they do the job. The bad thing is that we don't have skins to put underneath so that we can walk up the hills easily. We don't have ski-lifts in Afghanistan, so at least we would need some ski skins like the boys have in the Bamiyan village." Sultan Ali (18 years, Jawzeri, Afghanistan)

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Skiing in Afghanistan 029
Bamiyan
By Christina Feldt
17 Feb 2014

Bamiyan, Afghanistan Young Afghans gets ready for their ski trip. They train on a regular basis for the Afghan Ski Challenge which takes place once a year.

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Skiing in Afghanistan 028
Bamiyan
By Christina Feldt
17 Feb 2014

Bamiyan, Afghanistan Spectators from the village watch the group of young Afghans skiing in Bamiyan province, Afghanistan.

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Skiing in Afghanistan 022
Bamiyan
By Christina Feldt
17 Feb 2014

Bamiyan, Afghanistan Member of the Afghanistan ski team Sajjad Husaini, 22, says, "Skiing in Afghanistan was introduced by American and Swiss foreigners about 5 years ago. All the equipment we have here in Bamiyan was brought by foreign skiers, and now we have almost 20 skis and proper equipment as poles, boots and skins which is fantastic for us."

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Skiing in Afghanistan 023
Bamiyan
By Christina Feldt
17 Feb 2014

Bamiyan, Afghanistan Young Afghans getting ready for their ski trip. They train on a regular basis for the Afghan Ski Challenge taking place once a year.

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Skiing in Afghanistan 012
Bamiyan
By Christina Feldt
17 Feb 2014

Bamiyan, Afghanistan Member of the Afghanistan ski team Sajjad Husaini, 22, "Here in Bamiyan you can ski from January to March and every winter foreigners come and teach us how to ski properly. Four of us locals are now even working as ski guides for other Afghans interested in learning how to ski. There is no test you have to pass here in Bamiyan, you become a guide by experience."

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Skiing in Afghanistan 027
Bamiyan
By Christina Feldt
17 Feb 2014

Bamiyan, Afghanistan Sajjad Husaini, 22, member of the Afghan ski team, "We, the serious skiers from Bamiyan, want to become professional skiers and guides and represent Afghanistan in international competitions one day. We have been participating at the annually Afghan Ski Challenge here in Bamiyan and I even won the boys challenge last year. Unfortunately, there is no ski federation, infrastructure or real support yet in Afghanistan."

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Skiing in Afghanistan 026
Bamiyan
By Christina Feldt
17 Feb 2014

Bamiyan, Afghanistan Sajjad Husaini, 22, member of the Afghan ski team, "We, the ski guys from Bamiyan, have been skiing for around 3 years now and teach more and more to locals who want to get into skiing. Many of our foreign friends from Switzerland, the US, New Zealand and Italy support us, and the Afghan Ski Challenge is getting more and more popular every year. We have hope that the Afghan ski business will get big and flourishing in the future."

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Skiing in Afghanistan 025
Bamiyan
By Christina Feldt
17 Feb 2014

Bamiyan, Afghanistan Young Afghans getting ready for their ski trip. They train on a regular basis for the Afghan Ski Challenge taking place once a year. Member of the team Rahimullah Attayeezada, 20, said "From January to March we go skiing regularly here in Bamiyan, we have to train for the Afghan Ski Challenge. This year was the 4th ski challenge and there are also participants from other countries. But usually the locals win as we are faster running up the hill."

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Skiing in Afghanistan 021
Bamiyan
By Christina Feldt
17 Feb 2014

Bamiyan, Afghanistan Young Afghans getting ready for their ski trip. Rahimullah, 20, "I am very happy to have the possibility to ski here in Bamiyan, and I am aware that most of the people here don't have access to this sport and lack proper equipment. Now even the girls participate at the Afghan Ski Challenge, we have a boys and a girls competition. Believe me, that is big step forward for my country."

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Skiing in Afghanistan 024
Bamiyan
By Christina Feldt
17 Feb 2014

Bamiyan, Afghanistan Young Afghans getting ready for their ski trip. They train on a regular basis for the Afghan Ski Challenge taking place once a year.

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Skiing in Afghanistan 020
Bamiyan
By Christina Feldt
17 Feb 2014

Bamiyan, Afghanistan Young Afghans getting ready for their ski trip. They train on a regular basis for the Afghan Ski Challenge taking place once a year.

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Skiing in Afghanistan 019
Bamiyan
By Christina Feldt
17 Feb 2014

Bamiyan, Afghanistan Young Afghans getting ready for their ski trip. They train on a regular basis for the Afghan Ski Challenge taking place once a year.

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Skiing in Afghanistan 018
Bamiyan
By Christina Feldt
17 Feb 2014

Bamiyan, Afghanistan A young villager watches the group of Afghans skiing.

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Skiing in Afghanistan 017
Bamiyan
By Christina Feldt
17 Feb 2014

Bamiyan, Afghanistan Spectators watch the group of young Afghans skiing in Bamiyan province, Afghanistan.

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Skiing in Afghanistan 016
Bamiyan
By Christina Feldt
17 Feb 2014

Bamiyan, Afghanistan Young Afghans getting ready for their ski trip. They train on a regular basis for the Afghan Ski Challenge taking place once a year.

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Skiing in Afghanistan 015
Bamiyan
By Christina Feldt
17 Feb 2014

Bamiyan, Afghanistan Young Afghans getting ready for their ski trip. They train on a regular basis for the Afghan Ski Challenge taking place once a year.

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Skiing in Afghanistan 014
Bamiyan
By Christina Feldt
17 Feb 2014

Bamiyan, Afghanistan Young Afghans getting ready for their ski trip. They train on a regular basis for the Afghan Ski Challenge taking place once a year.

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Skiing in Afghanistan 013
Bamiyan
By Christina Feldt
17 Feb 2014

Bamiyan, Afghanistan Member of the Afghanistan ski team Sajjad Husaini, 22, "I spent 12 years of my life as a refugee in central Iran. When I returned to Afghanistan, my uncle introduced me to Gul Hussain Baizada, one of the local supports of the Afghan Ski Challenge. That was in 2011, and since then I have been skiing and training with all my passion. In the evening I go to university to study law, but I wish to become a professional skier to represent Afghanistan in the future."

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Attack of Lebanese Restaurant in Afgh...
Kabul
By Masood Momin
04 Feb 2014

Afghan civil society activists denounced the Friday's terrorist attack at Lebanese Restaurant in Kabul city.

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"The Difference Between Lightning and...
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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Veterans Protecting Protesters in Mai...
Ukraine
By lordcob
14 Dec 2013

An Afghanistan veteran preparing for a night shift.

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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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"The Difference Between Lightning and...
By Giovanni Diffidenti
11 Nov 2013

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.

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"The Difference Between Lightning and...
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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"The Difference Between Lightning and...
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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"The Difference Between Lightning and...
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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"The Difference Between Lightning and...
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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"The Difference Between Lightning and...
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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"The Difference Between Lightning and...
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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"The Difference Between Lightning and...
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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"The Difference Between Lightning and...
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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"The Difference Between Lightning and...
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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"The Difference Between Lightning and...
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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"The Difference Between Lightning and...
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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"The Difference Between Lightning and...
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.

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"The Difference Between Lightning and...
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.