Kabul wheelchair basketball – ICRC orthopaedic center
In a midst of a game.
June 2012, Kabul, Afghanistan.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is an impartial, neutral and independent organization whose exclusively humanitarian mission is to protect the lives and dignity of victims of armed conflict and other situations of violence and to provide them with assistance. The ICRC also endeavours to prevent suffering by promoting and strengthening humanitarian law and universal humanitarian principles. The ICRC is at the origin of the Geneva Conventions and the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. It directs and coordinates the international activities conducted by the Movement in armed conflicts and other situations of violence.
THE ICRC has been permanently present in Afghanistan since 1987, and the orthopaedic programme was one of its first activities. The ICRC orthopaedic center opened in Kabul in 1988. More than 90,000 Afghan disabled have been assisted through it. Those are combatants and civilians caught up in fighting, hurt during bombardments, or struck by landmines. At present the ICRC directly manages six orthopaedic center in Afghanistan and supports four non-ICRC prosthetic workshops.
Of close to 200 employees running Kabul orthopaedic center, including a large hospital and workshops producing prostheses and wheelchairs, all are disabled themselves. The whole center is effectively run by people who had been affected by warfare, loosing limbs, but not losing their spirit.
Some of ICRC workers and patients have, under the leadership of Alberto Cairo, legendary head of the center, started a wheelchair basketball team, and practice almost every day after office hours. In June 2012 first wheelchair basketball tournament took place in Afghanistan. Kabul team did not win although they gave a tough fight.
It’s been a moving experience to see them practising and playing, an experience that cannot be forgotten.
More about the work of ICRC – www.icrc.org
Texts quoted after ICRC.
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