Jaipur Foot provides not only mobility but dignity to Afghans

Jaipur Foot, a rubber-based prosthetic leg, is providing not only mobility but also dignity to Afghans who have lost their limbs in landmine blasts due to the ongoing civil war and militancy.

PTI| Last Updated: Jun 18, 2014, 17:26 PM IST

Kabul: Jaipur Foot, a rubber-based prosthetic leg, is providing not only mobility but also dignity to Afghans who have lost their limbs in landmine blasts due to the ongoing civil war and militancy.

Afghanistan, which for over two-and-a-half decades has seen wars and conflicts, has thousands of men and women who became victims of war and lost their limbs.

"We have been facing hard time due to war and conflict which have affected numerous families. I was totally disturbed when I lost my one leg in a landmine blast four years ago and became handicapped with almost zero mobility," 48-year-old Abdul told PTI.

"Making a living was difficult and challenging, yet I managed to earn some money by selling fruits....Now I am happy that I will be able to move without sticks," he said.

Abdul brought three others along with him to get the light-weight Jaipur Foot fitted.

The prosthetic legs are being provided to amputees free of cost in a camp here organised by an Indian not-for-profit NGO of Rajasthan -- Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Sahayata Samiti (BMVSS) -- which is the world`s largest organisation for the handicapped.

Merwiz, a soldier who lost his one leg while on duty in a troubled area in Kandhar, said he had not even in the wildest dream imagined that his life would take a sad and painful turn.

"Nothing was going right for me and to add to my miseries, I lost my parents and I as the only offspring had to face difficulties," 24-year-old Merwiz said.

"But Jaipur Foot has given me hope and the specialists and artisans from India, after examining me, have assured to provide a prosthetic leg which would not only allow me to walk easily, but I would be able to even run.

"Now I can even find a bride for myself." said Merwaiz, wearing a broad smile on his face as he waits for his turn for measurement of the foot by the Jaipur Foot team.

Ahemad Shah, who also attended the camp, said, "The war-torn country where conflicts and terror attacks are a regular feature, the jobs are far and few even for the healthy person."

"Having lost a limb disturbed my daily life. I lost the capacity to earn and give my wife and children even two square meal a day," he said.

"I know there are many like me in Kabul itself...But the Jaipur Foot has given us mobility and the opportunity to earn our bread as we can walk like any other normal person," Shah said.

On one single day, 65 handicapped were fitted with the

Jaipur Foot at the Khair Khana, where the BMVSS is holding the camp.

Some of the amputees came to the camp were already fitted with other artificial limbs that were provided locally by a government-run centre, but majority of them came to get a better and lighter prosthetic limb that is easy to maneuver and handle.

This is the fifth visit of Jaipur Foot team to Kabul during which 1,000 Jaipur Foot will be provided. Apart from victims of war, people handicapped in road accidents and due to gangrene will also be benefited from the camp.

On earlier four visits, on the spot fitments were provided to 3,051 people.

"The objective of such a camp is to help amputees not only standing or moving but to reintegrate them into society with dignity. We aim to provide social, economic and physical rehabilitation," D R Mehta, founder and chief patron of the BMVSS, said.

Limbs are provided to the handicapped who have lost limb below the knee and also above the knee. Those who have lost both legs will also be fitted with the Jaipur Foot.

The camp is being organised in association with the Afghan Government, Ministry of Labour and is being sponsored by Al Falah bank.

BMVSS has provided the artificial limbs to over 1.4 million since 1975 world over that included in countries like Bangladesh, Indonesia, Nigeria, Nairobi, Panama, Philippines, Rwanda, Somalia, Trinidad, Vietnam, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Lebanon, Mauritius, Iraq, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Senegal, Fiji, Liberia, Papua New Guinea, Nepal, Malawi, Dominican Republic apart from Afghanistan.