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The Killid Group

Low priority

Written by Sohaila Wedaa Khamosh
Saturday, 10 December 2011 10:24

Low priority Since Parliament enacted a law for the disabled nothing has changed on the ground.
There are 80,000 people disabled by years of war in Afghanistan. The Ministry of Social Affairs, Martyrs and Disability has no idea how many Afghans were born disabled.
Government official Najeeya Shirzad said the most important thing now was providing the disabled with "access" to facilities. "The problems they face in the community are many: families are ashamed and they are discriminated against," she said.
Aminullah Eiman, spokesman of the Ministry of Education, acknowledged many disabled children are illiterate. However, he said the ministry's priority was to provide schooling to 4 million children currently out of school. "Then we can pay attention to the disabled," he said.
There are four schools for the physically and visually challenged in the country. There are plans to set up three more schools in Mazar-e-Sharif and Kandahar.
Mohammad Aziz Resa, director of Martyr and Disabled Affairs in the ministry, said under the law on disabled rights (2010) each person can claim 18,000 Afghanis annually (370 USD), which is double the money they got previously. The disabled are divided in two categories: those with 60 percent disability, and those with 30 percent. Those in the latter category can claim jobs in the government.

Non-government work
Meanwhile, there are several (at least 60 according to a random count) nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) actively working for the rehabilitation of the disabled. Haji Ahmed Shah of the Centre for Disabled Community said his NGO was working in and outside Kabul on changing people's attitude towards the disabled and increasing skills of some 35,000 disabled people.
Last year a meeting was held of officials from the ministries of urban affairs, education health and Kabul municipality to consider special facilities for the disabled. The meeting decided among other things to open special schools, make buildings disabled friendly with the construction of ramps, and provide free medical treatment. Nothing has happened since.

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