• Afghanistan, Kabul. ICRC Orthopaedic Centre
    • Afghanistan, Kabul. ICRC Orthopaedic Centre
      © ICRC / J. Barry

    Playing wheelchair basketball provides both exercise and therapy for the disabled. It brings players together in a shared endeavour and creates a sense of achievement and pride. Since their training last May, the Ortho Centre patients in Kabul have practiced together every week.

  • Afghanistan, Kabul. ICRC Orthopaedic Centre
    • Afghanistan, Kabul. ICRC Orthopaedic Centre
      © ICRC / J. Barry

    It was Najmuddin, director of the ICRC's Orthopaedic Centre in Kabul, and himself a double amputee, who first suggested playing wheelchair basketball. It is now one of many activities going on there, and at other ICRC Ortho Centres in Afghanistan, that help people with disabilities to live a full and active life. Other projects include vocational training, micro-credit loans and home education for children. Almost all the technicians and physiotherapists working at the ICRC Ortho Centres are themselves former patients. They have all received internationally-recognized professional training.

  • Afghanistan, Kabul. ICRC Orthopaedic Centre

    It is not only the players who enjoy the wheelchair basketball sessions. The weekly event often attracts other patients, who watch from the sidelines. Alberto, head of the Ortho programme, never misses a practice. "I am there every week," he says, "waving my arms like a true Italian, cheering each side on."

  • Afghanistan, Kabul. ICRC Orthopaedic Centre

    For Alberto, the basketball sessions are more than just a game. "To those who say that in a place like Afghanistan basketball for disabled people is not a priority I answer: watch a basketball match. You will see real athletes whose faces have a determined and joyful look. Can joy be denied?"


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