Fatima Mohammadi, 17 years old is a resident of the Choghdak area in Mazar-e-Sharif. Ten years ago, she came to the orthopedic workshop which is supported by Swedish Committee for Afghanistan. She is disabled and can’t walk without orthosis.
She says: “I don’t remember the first days of my visit to the orthopedic workshop. Because I was only seven years old. But now, this place is very familiar to me. And now, I know everyone here and I can easily change my orthosis. Earlier, when I was living in Kabul, we used to buy orthosis from Pakistan and it was very difficult to pay, but now I am happy that everything is free for me.”
Fatima has Spina Bifida, a birth defect in which there is incomplete closing of the spine and the membranes around the spinal cord during early development in pregnancy. Spina bifida is believed to be due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
Being a strong girl, she never stopped continuing school. She also added: “I am in the tenth grade now but when I joined the school, I was called by insulting names, even my teachers called me the same. Finally, those hard days are gone, and I resisted. I am sure I will finish school and continue my higher education. I want to be a doctor in the future and show everyone that I can, and nothing can stop me.”
Assadullah Saboor has been working as a technician in the orthopedic workshop for twenty years. He helps Fatima whenever she is coming to receive services. He says: “She is a brave and hard-working girl. She is never been disappointed and comes here and receives services whenever she needs physiotherapy devices or orthosis. She is getting stronger every day and one of my happiest patients that I have ever seen.”
Support of family for children who have a disability is also very important in Afghanistan. Fatima is happy that she has the support of her father and mother. She says: “I can’t explain in words that how much support I have from my father and mother. They did everything for my treatments. I will try my best to be a useful person for society in the future that my father and mother proud of me.”
She also has a message: “life doesn’t end with disability. I have seen many examples of successful people that they have a disability. And one day I will prove that I also can.”
During the last three-quarters Jan-Sep – 2020, a total of 900 people with disabilities received orthosis from Orthopedic Workshop.