The National Disability Survey of 2005, conducted by Handicap International and the Government of Afghanistan, found that 10.8% of the Afghan population live with a severe or very severe disability. The ongoing conflict in Afghanistan has contributed to a rapid increase in the number of persons with disability. Around three-quarters of persons with disabilities live in rural and poor semi-urban settings (Norad 2012). Most are illiterate, unemployed or lack access to health services, education and other opportunities (National Disability Survey 2005). Discrimination, negative attitude of family, community and government authorities, lack of rehabilitation facilities, limited capacity and inaccessible physical environment and lack of opportunities for participation have negatively affected health, education, livelihood and social integration of persons with disabilities in Afghanistan.
At same time, though the Government has developed several laws and policy for rehabilitation and inclusion of persons with disabilities, most of the rehabilitation services in Afghanistan are still provided by international and national non-governmental organisations and International Committee of the Red Cross. The Swedish Committee for Afghanistan (SCA) is one of the leading agencies for rehabilitation and inclusion of people with disabilities in Afghanistan.
About Disability Programme of SCA
Disability is a cross cutting issue within SCA programming, and the organization has strategically included persons with disabilities as right holders in all its five strategic objectives. The development Goals three assures full inclusion of persons with disabilities in Afghan society. It states that “A society in which men and women with disabilities enjoy equal rights with all others to health, education, employment and participation in public life and in which they are protected from all forms of violence”
The organization implements both community and institutional based rehabilitation programmes along with inclusion of disability in health, rural development and education programmes.
Community Based Rehabilitation
The Disability Programme of SCA operates from a Community-Based Rehabilitation (CBR) perspective of the World Health Organization for rehabilitation, equalisation of opportunities, poverty reduction and social inclusion of people with disabilities’ (ILO, UNESCO & WHO, 2004). The comprehensive CBR programmes of the organisation include five sub-components namely social integration, employment support, special and inclusive education, physical rehabilitation services and capacity & institutional development. The programme is planned and coordinated by the disability programme unit based in Kabul and implemented from four regional offices in Mazar-e-Sharif, Ghazni, Taloqan and Jalalabad in 13 provinces covering 45 districts. The activities under the programme include awareness raising and mobilising community, home based therapy, home based education, centre based preparatory education, mainstream children with disabilities in regular schools, vocational training, loan and employment support, sports and recreation activities, organising and sensitizing people with disabilities at community level, and supporting Disabled Peoples’ organisations to advocate for their rights.
SCA makes sincere effort to improve mobility and functions of persons with disabilities through provision of physical rehabilitation services. We provide physiotherapy from 12 existing physiotherapy centres and at home. Mobility and assistive devices are provided in four regional prosthetic and orthotic workshops.
Human Resource Development
SCA has been striving hard to fulfil shortage of human resources on physical rehabilitation in the country. The organisation in a consortium with Handicap International and Norwegian Afghan Committee has secured funding from European Commission to conduct physiotherapy and prosthetics and orthotics diploma courses.