Afghanistan: Mohammad Azam - A story of tragedy and hope
Mohammad Azam's childhood was joyful and simple. He lived with his parents, brother and two sisters in Zahir Abad high in the mountains of Faizabad, Badakhshan province. Mohammad and his friends spent their days playing children's games and having fun. All that changed in 2016 when an earthquake 6.1 Richter struck Afghanistan, causing widespread damage and destruction in north-eastern Afghanistan.
The earthquake changed the course of Mohammad's life forever. Although he survived, Mohammad suffered a spinal cord injury. His father, the sole earning member of the family, lost his life in this horrific incident.
After his father's death, poverty, homelessness and disability cast a shadow over Mohammad and the rest of his family. Even though Mohammad's chances of survival were slim and his long-term care difficult, Mohammad's family had lost all hope. Now 18 years old, Mohammad is a wheelchair user.
The Physical Rehabilitation Programme of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Badakhshan provided Mohammad with physical rehabilitation services such as physiotherapy, orthosis, walking aids, wheelchair, self-care tools and adaptive equipment for easier daily living to help him regain his independence.
The ICRC Physical Rehabilitation Centre at Faizabad, through its Social Reintegration Programme (SRP), also provided Mohammad with the opportunity to reintegrate into society through home-based schooling. The SRP provides Mohammad with education materials and has also hired a tutor, on a monthly salary (11,000 Afghanis), to teach him at home.
Mohammad is currently in the seventh grade.
At this stage of his rehabilitation, Mohammad and his family are looking at a brighter future and happier life. They appreciate the assistance and support of the ICRC in helping Mohammad find a new lease of life.