According to USAID, there are 1 million people with disabilities requiring assistance in Afghanistan. Many of them are victims of war. Astonishingly, despite that high number 98% of buildings in Afghanistan are without wheelchair access.
Clear Path International, the organization I co-founded in September of 2000, is working to address this issue to help victims of war and others rejoin society with ramps and other accessibility projects.
There is a great article up today on AlertNet.org written by Kate McFarland of the US Dept of State, our finding partner in Afghanistan, Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos.
My colleague, Chris Fidler, who I wrote about in this post has a great quote, below.
CPI’s Country Director Chris Fidler believes that the impact of these ramps extends far beyond accessibility. Fidler uses the ramps as optics to advocate for the inclusion of persons with disabilities in everyday life and communal activities. According to Fidler, “CPI considers the impact of physical accessibility ramps and associated awareness-raising sessions important in three ways: Individuals previously excluded are now are able to participate more independently in community life; households recast the disabled family member as a visible and viable participant in community life; and communities are now exposed to routine inclusion of people with disabilities, further reducing the exclusion and social stigma commonly associated with disability in Afghan culture.”