A young girl named Mahnaz stands using a walker and leg braces in Afghanistan
Afghanistan

Mahnaz is back on her feet again

When she was 4, Mahnaz lost the use of her legs. Since meeting the Humanity & Inclusion team, this determined little girl is getting back on her feet again.

As a toddler, Mahnaz loved playing games with her friends, but that changed when her health quickly deteriorated. Soon, she couldn’t stand or use her arms. At an age when most children are exploring the world around them, Mahnaz found herself unable to walk.

Mahnaz, her parents, and her six siblings have always lived in extreme poverty. Her father is a laborer, who is away most of the time, working in Afghanistan’s Ghur province to provide for his family. Despite their difficult situation, Mahnaz's parents tried to help their daughter using traditional treatments, but nothing worked. They lost hope in ever finding a solution.

Nine months ago, when Humanity & Inclusion’s mobile team in the Herat region offered to treat 9-year-old Mahnaz, they accepted with low expectations.

"When Humanity & Inclusion started her treatment, we didn't think she would get any better because all the traditional treatments had failed,” Mahnaz’s mother explains. “We didn't believe in it anymore.”

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Since people in Herat have almost no access to health care, Humanity & Inclusion’s mobile teams provide at-home services to vulnerable individuals, including people with disabilities.

Mahnaz's life has changed immensely. Mahnaz does regular rehabilitation exercises to strengthen her muscles and improve her balance. Humanity & Inclusion has given her leg braces and a walking frame. Equipped and determined, Mahnaz is learning to walk again.

The girl's mother can’t believe the progress Mahnaz has made. “Mahnaz has started to improve,” she says. “She can stand up and do a few steps with her braces. She is walking better, and we think it’s going to work! We're so happy!”

Mahnaz dreams of running and even playing soccer. Once she is self-reliant, her family wants to enroll her in school.

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Image: A young girl named Mahnaz wears leg braces and stands with the help of a walker outside in Afghanistan. Copyright: O. Zerah/HI