My name is Mulkara Rahimi, an Afghan girl born in Kabul the capital city of Afghanistan. I work at the International Committee of the Red Cross orthopedic clinic in Afghanistan.
If you are looking to read real stories of children living with a disability in Afghanistan, then you are at the right place.
I was inspired to start this blog right after our little hero ‘Ahmad Rahman’s dance video got viral and grasped millions of views on the internet. I realized just how one video can change someone’s life forever and it can touch millions of people’s heart in the world. So why not start sharing about a thousand more disabled kids stories that are waiting to be heard too.
I don’t think anyone else could better explain stories of a disabled more than a disabled individual himself/herself. Yes! I am a polio victim, who has previously been an ICRC (where I work now) patient. I have lived my life with a prosthetic leg too.
Afghanistan is already a tough country to be born in as a girl, and on top of that to be a disabled girl is really a war to fight on day to day basis.
Life is very unpredictable, among all the wars surrounding us and the mental tortures of living a disabled life, I found myself more capable than before. I do believe that disability is a matter of perception.
Working at the ICRC for almost 10 years has made me realize how capable, fortunate, and useful I am than ever before.
I would like to use this platform and write about these Afghan disabled kids from landmines, gunshots, amputations, and polio. Their lives and stories matter too and need to be heard by the world.
As a growing disabled child, it doesn’t take long to get hit with the truth of your life. You do get reminded about your incapability and disability on every step of the way from a very young age. It didn’t take long before I realize that Afghanistan is not a safe and healthy place for a disabled person.
The biggest fear I had as a child was to be raised in a society where there is no respect and support for women, let alone a disabled woman. Looking like a woman seemed weak, so I decided to change my getup and look like a man instead, just for my own safety and ease of life.
To live in an Islamic country and not abide by the rules such as wearing a scarf was the toughest thing, it can cost you your life and shaming from society. However, it is much easier now.
I have been bullied multiple times at school and forced to abide by the rules. I have been looked at as “that weird girl”, and called as that “guy looking girl”, or the “lang patan”, a phrase used to call someone an amputee in Dari language.
My disability became my identity, to be called by my disability was normal than calling me by my name. But, I refused to be known ONLY by my disability. I wanted more from my life, and I wanted to flee Afghanistan in search of a new life. I started working for ICRC, where they educated me and gave me the training to work for the disabled. For the first time in my life, I felt like home and belonged in a community, I could relate and see other human beings that resembled me. I can say that ICRC was my life’s turning point, I decided to dedicate my life for the disabled and work for them. More than 90% of doctors and physiotherapists at ICRC are all disabled themselves, and the majority are victims of war and landmines.
I never knew the potential I had until I joined the Afghan women’s wheelchair basketball National team and competed on an international level. I have won the best player award and been appreciated all over the country. It is not just a sport that we play along with the other wheelchair players but a new hope to live and connect with the rest of the world.
It has been 10 years since I am working, and not a single day I can say that I have not been fearful for my life. Every time I leave home, I doubt if I will return home or not. I always fear I will end up being killed like “Farkhunda” the Afghan women who was murdered by a mob of angry Afghan men on the road.
I have decided that instead of dying every day with this fear, I will live my life to the fullest every day and just die on that one day.
I started driving in Kabul (which was not normal at those times), risked my life on multiple occasions, just so i can still show up at work and do what I love to do.
I have found my freedom in my disability, something I always thought was a punishment by God, was actually in fact a blessing. I see many women in this country that are normal but living their lives worst than a disabled person. My disability gave me a chance to live and be free. I want every disabled child, women or men in Afghanistan or around the world, to know their more capable than anyone else, its a matter of what you do with your disability.
This blog is managed by my cousin Tanya Qader, who is a blogger and based in Canada. She translates my articles from local language Dari to English and shares it on social media. Tanya is my soulmate sister that arranges any kind of monetary help for the poor disabled and helps me get the right support on an international platform through social media, blogging and more. We share the same dream. 🙂