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Innovative Ideas Empower Afghans with Disabilities

Numerous projects designed to aid Afghanistan’s disabled citizenry are being implement across the country. The UN Refugee Agency UNHCR has created an innovative workshop in Jalalabad, which holds classes for 32 blind and disabled returnees in Braille, basket-weaving and broom-making. One teacher named Ihsanullah teaches Braille – a system of dots which allows blind people to read and write – to enable his blind students to learn alongside other Afghan children in school. Pasta-making classes were held in Mazar-i-Sharif for dozens of Afghans with special needs. Many of the participants were given cash grants to help finance small businesses. Some former classmates have gone onto purchases sewing machines or open local restaurants.

UNHCR has also funded the Syed Jamaluddin Afghani Welfare Organisation (SJAWO) in Peshawar, Pakistan since 1991 to provide vocational training and basic education to people with disabilities and vulnerable Afghan refugees in Pakistan. Since the establishment of SJAWO, a total of 7,799 men and 3,355 women have been trained under its programs.

Since 2002, some 3.7 million Afghan refugees have repatriated with UNHCR assistance. The authorities work with UNHCR staff to identify and assess the most vulnerable and needy families for assistance.

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