Irshadullah is one of the countless civilian victims of violence in Afghanistan. As is too often the case, his injury left him with a permanent disability. Humanity & Inclusion was there to help him start over.
In July 2021, Irshadullah was cycling near his home when his left leg was hit by a bullet fired from an armed convoy. His father took him to the regional hospital in Mirwais where his leg was amputated. He was then referred to Humanity & Inclusion’s physical rehabilitation center in Kandahar for physical therapy and an artificial limb.
For a week, Irshadullah was led through physical therapy exercises to strengthen his amputated leg so he would be able to wear an artificial limb. Specialists then took a mold of his leg to make a customized device.
“I’m happy with my artificial leg,” Irshadullah says. "I can go about my daily activities normally and I can walk without difficulty."
Irshadullah can also return to school and help his father with the garden again.
HI's rehabilitation center
Located in Kandahar, Humanity & Inclusion's rehabilitation center treats people with conflict-related injuries, often caused by explosive devices. Survivors of serious accidents, patients with diabetes-related amputations and people with polio are also among those receive physical therapy services. The center is staffed by 52 professionals specializing in physical therapy or psychosocial support work. It is the only rehabilitation center in southern Afghanistan.
Judy, 8, lives with leg paralysis and has difficulty with certain movements. For weeks, she has been attending rehabilitation sessions with Humanity & Inclusion to improve her mobility and gain more independence.
Judy lives in Amman, Jordan, with her mother and her sister. When she was younger, a bacterial infection eventually caused her to lose mobility in her legs and develop a disability that affects her movement.
“She has a neurological condition called hydrocephalus and weakness in her lower limbs, so she uses a wheelchair to get around,” explains Suhad Abood, Humanity & Inclusion’s community-based rehabilitation manager. “She was unable to sit up on her own and has difficulty grasping objects. Now, Judy participates in rehabilitation sessions, physical therapy sessions and occupational therapy sessions to help improve her movement and become more independent.”
After initially seeking rehabilitation services at a nearby hospital, Judy’s mother learned of the new Primary Health Center, which opened in Amman in March 2022. The first of its kind, the center serves around 600 people per day and is easier for many members of the community to access since the hospital is often crowded. At the center, Humanity & Inclusion provides rehabilitation services such as physical and occupational therapy, and services that support people with cerebral palsy, survivors of strokes and individuals with mobility challenges.
Judy has been visiting the center once a week for seven weeks and has already begun to see changes. Her mother says that Judy’s hand movements have improved to where she can now catch objects, and she is able to sit up without requiring support.
During a recent visit to the center, Humanity & Inclusion’s rehabilitation specialists learned that Judy had never attended school.
“She is 8 years old, which is two years late for starting school,” Abood explains. “We contacted the Amman directorate to approve her registration, and now she will officially be enrolled in school next semester.”
These actions are funded by the United States Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration.
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June 20 is World Refugee Day. Humanity & Inclusion supports tens of thousands of refugees each year, like Rashid who lives in Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya.
When Rashid was a baby, he and his family fled violent fighting in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 2018. Rashid, now 4, was just a toddler when his mother, Julienne, quickly realized that he had difficulty walking.
“He didn't walk like the other children,” she says. “I couldn’t explain where this comes from because nobody in the family has the same problem."
At the refugee camp, Rashid experienced isolation from other children who didn’t understand his disability. He wasn’t able to play with them.
"The other children rejected him and made fun of him,” Julienne explains.
Humanity & Inclusion’s rehabilitation team at Kakuma camp diagnosed Rashid with a deformity affecting his knee. In September 2021, the boy underwent corrective surgery on his legs at the Kakuma Mission Hospital, which works in collaboration with Humanity & Inclusion. Once his casts were removed, Rashid was able to walk without any difficulty. He’s continuing rehabilitation exercises to strengthen his muscles and improve his mobility.
Julienne is thrilled to see her son’s improved functioning. Rashid has returned to school, where he has made many friends. He is very popular with his teachers, who find him friendly and energetic.
"I'm very happy to stand up without the other kids making fun of me,” Rashid says.
Humanity & Inclusion at Kakuma
Located in northwestern Kenya, Kakuma refugee camp was established in 1992. It hosts over 200,000 refugees from 13 different countries. Over 40% of the refugees are South Sudanese and over 30% are Somalis.
Humanity & Inclusion assists over 15,000 people in Kakuma camp. The organization provides rehabilitation, mental health and psychosocial support. It also runs a child protection program. These actions are funded by the United States Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration.
Fazal, 18, lost his leg in a mine accident. Humanity & Inclusion is providing him with rehabilitation care.
When he was 16, Fazal worked in a garden in Kandahar, picking pomegranates. One day, the vehicle that Fazal and his co-workers were traveling in on their way to work ran over a mine on the side of the road. The explosion was terrible. Fazal was severely wounded. One of his co-workers was killed and two others were injured.
Fazal spent more than two months in a hospital in Kabul, where he underwent surgery to amputate his leg.
At Humanity & Inclusion’s rehabilitation center in Kandahar, a team of specialists immediately provided him with crutches so that he could get around on his own. Measurements were taken of his amputated leg so he could be fitted with an artificial leg. Fazal worked with experts to complete physical therapy exercises to strengthen his muscles and adapt to walking with the artificial limb.
“Now I can do my daily tasks by myself without the help of a member of my family,” Fazal explains. "I feel hopeful about the future."
Opened in 1996, Humanity & Inclusion’s rehabilitation center in Kandahar treats people injured by explosive weapons. It is the only rehabilitation center in southern Afghanistan. Survivors of other accidents, individuals with diabetes-related amputations and people with polio are among other patients treated by the 52 professionals specialized in physical therapy or psychosocial support at the clinic.
Malnutrition prevented Pal from developing like other children his age. With Humanity & Inclusion’s nutrition support and stimulation therapy, Pal can now sit, stand and walk on his own.
11-month-old Pal and his mother, Nyayual, 34, live in the Nguenyyiel refugee camp, in Gambella, Ethiopia. Originally from Nasir, South Sudan, Nyayual was forced to flee her home in 2017 due to war and unstable conditions. After leaving her husband behind in the conflict, Nyayual is raising her five children as a single mother in the camp and working as a cleaner.
Living in the refugee camp, Nyayual is faced with a lack of resources, insufficient finances and increasing drought, all of which make it difficult to access food and nutrition for her children.
Malnutrition has a particularly strong impact on babies and young children, like Pal, who are still developing their minds and bodies. Malnutrition and undernutrition are major factors in child mortality, illness and disability. Children may show delays in motor and cognitive development, associated with behavioral and communication problems. These can consolidate over time and lead to irreversible disabilities if left untreated. Most neurological disorders related to malnutrition are preventable.
“I was worried a lot about my baby,” Nyayual says. “His growth rate was slow and he was unable to sit up without support like other children his age.”
Overcoming developmental challenges
Nyayual brought her son to Humanity & Inclusion to begin stimulation therapy sessions and to receive emergency nutrition supplies. Early childhood stimulation therapy for children experiencing malnourishment stimulates motor skills and cognitive development through personalized care and playing with toys. Humanity & Inclusion’s rehabilitation specialists developed the therapy to use alongside emergency nutrition initiatives, rehydration and essential medical care to give children the best chance of survival, resilience and an improved quality of life.
After attending sessions with his mother, Pal began to show improvements. He can now sit without any support, stand by himself and he has recently started walking independently. Nyayual also learned skills to continue Pal’s progress at home.
“Being able to play with his peers and siblings at home also helps Pal to improve his social interactions and learn some gestures, which improves his language skills,” explains Gadisa Obsi, a physical therapist for Humanity & Inclusion in Ethiopia.
It’s been five months since Pal’s family began receiving nutritional support from Humanity & Inclusion, and Nyayual says she is very pleased with her son’s performance, which now fits with his age group. Pal’s favorite activities are dancing and “playing drums” by beating on household objects. His favorite food is mashed potatoes with milk.
“My ultimate goal is to see him go to school,” Nyayual says. “I hope one day he can become an educated person who will bring real change for our family.”
These actions are funded by the United States Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, and implemented by Action Against Hunger, Humanity & Inclusion and other partner organizations.