Moving forward despite disability

To say that Taj Mohammad is a vivacious young man, might sound like a cliché - but it's actually just the way it is.

“I’m able, not disabled”, he says, in English. And by that he means that he, in spite of his cerebral palsy, consider himself to have capacity, and do not feel less capable than others.

An evidence of that is that Taj Mohammad has managed to pick up some English, even though he has not gone to school, and spend most of his time at home. He also know some Russian, because the family lived for some time in Tajikistan. In his room he has an old computer, which he tries to learn to manage. Now and then children come to visit him and ask him who to help them with their homework.

However his cerebral palsy is of course an obstacle to living a full life. But with training from both the trainer from the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan (SCA) and from his father, he has been able to stand up and start to walk, using a walking frame. According to the plan this year he will finally start school, 17 years old. With a dream to one day become a teacher.

“Sometimes I take a walk with Dad. The problem is that there are people in the neighborhood who bully me when I'm out, says Taj Mohammad.

He lives in Mazar-e-Sharif, and the training he gets is part of the SCA program for home-based training. In the three provinces where the office in Mazar is responsible for SCA activities, a total of 676 families with children with disabilities receive visits from 52 Community Based Rehabilitation Workers. The program also includes six physiotherapists.

The Rehabilitation Worker visit Taj Mohammad three times a month. And he really likes him, and what they achieve together. One of the skills he had learnt from him is to be able to eat with a spoon. Previously he needed help with eating.

But exercise three times a month is of course not enough to continue going forward. A lot of responsibility is placed on the “family trainer” – his own father, Raz Mohammad, a taciturn man who spend a lot of time to support his son - crucial for Taj's future.