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Afghan Center Offers Hope For Disabled Children

Afghan children participating in the performance (Courtesy Photo) August 17, 2007 (RFE/RL) -- Dozens of disabled Afghan children went onstage on August 16 in a special show prepared by a Kabul-based educational center called Circus for Children.

Organizers of the event say their main aim was to fight prejudice and discrimination against the disabled children.

Hamid Ruhani, the head of the educational center, which is run by a nongovernmental organization, told RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan that their center gives equal opportunities to all children.

"Children shouldn't suffer by thinking, 'I'm blind, so I'm incapable' or 'I'm deaf, so I'm helpless,'" Ruhani said. "In this show blind children and other disabled children proved to other people that 'We are capable people, and there is no difference between the disabled and able-bodied. All of us are the same, and we are capable of doing things.'"

Nazir, a 12-year-old blind boy, took part in the show. His task was to identify small objects put into his hands. He said he was satisfied with his own performance.

"I took part in the show. They would give me things and I would tell them what it was. I identified a toilet-paper roll and a hair brush."

At the end of the program a group of children wearing Afghan national costumes performed several happy songs.

The children were seemingly in high spirits and enjoying the show.

Thousands of Afghan children have been disabled by land mines and disease during decades of war and poverty in the country.

But the special education center in Kabul is one of very few such organizations for disabled children in Afghanistan, and it is far from being able to provide assistance to all the disabled children in need.

RFE/RL Afghanistan Report

RFE/RL Afghanistan Report

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