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Govt. accused of leaving people with disabilities behind

Mujeeb R. Awrang

KABUL: Thousands of Afghans have been disabled during over four decades of conflicts in Afghanistan. The longest violence has directly and indirectly inflicted sever impairment on people with some of them with no eyes, no hands, no legs and also hearing problems — while several others of them incapacitated due to lack of access to the medical facilities. Many cases of structural birth defect, spina bifida, cleft palate, clubfoot, and congenital dislocated hip registered in the country, as the health officials have been struggling to provide medical facilities due to prolonged instability in Afghanistan.   

About 70 of disabled people had showcased their handicrafts in an exhibition held on Monday in capital Kabul. The disables included men and women, who laid on their handmade crafts on tables under a large tent in MDC, a demining organization. The exhibition has been organized for two days.  

The organizer, Zakirullah Hemat, said the advertisement was aimed to draw government and aid organizations’ attention to the disabled people. “I am suffering from disability. Since past 14 years, I have been fighting for the rights of disabled people.”

Citing the lack of market for the handicrafts, Hemat said, “These disables are staying at home and make handicrafts, so we trying to coordinate them with other people who work at this field, aiming to find a good market for their products.”

He called on the government to provide marketing facilities for the disables, where they can exhibit their products.  “The government has not provided enough job opportunity for the disables.”

A member of the exhibition, Latifa said that she was happy with holding such exhibition, where she can showcase her handmade crafts for sell. “I can do handmade industries but don’t have good economy to find market for it.”

She expressed criticism about government’s lack of attention to the disabled people and said, “I have gone 12 years of school with my wheelchair but now I can’t go to the University because of transportation’s problems.” The handicrafts included jewelries, clothes and curtains.

“I come here to see the handicraft made by disable people. They are struggling with a lot of challenges, hope the government and other organizations help them,” Milad, a visitor said.

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