Faraz* lost his eyesight in one eye and part of his arm when a mine went off years ago in Afghanistan. The shame he feels about his situation is compounded by the hurtful comments of loved ones accusing him of not trying to find a job. In reality, Iran has a high unemployment rate and with several million Afghan refugees ready to work, a man without a hand hardly has a chance. Countless experiences of rejection have left Faraz feeling hopeless and full of shame.
A father enters carrying a precious bundle in his arms. One can hardly believe that his daughter Shirin* is already 11 years of age. She is the size of a six-year old and her cerebral palsy hinders her ability to make controlled movements. The only way she can communicate is through her smile. Her illiterate father and mother know very little about how to support Shirin’s development. They dread the future, as taking care of their daughter becomes more and more challenging.
Each of these families lives in deep shame. Their isolation from Iranian society because of their disabilities is exacerbated by their status as Afghan refugees. Many are not able to find good, if any, work, nor provide adequate nutrition for their families. As the spiral of poverty turns, unbearable living conditions compound the risk of illness and disease.
In order to increase the physical health, employment capacity, and social integration of disabled Afghan refugees in Iran, Operation Mercy has launched the Disabled Afghan Refugees Rehabilitation Pilot Project. This project will support rehabilitation by connecting disabled refugees with specialized services and therapies, as well as enhance psychosocial well-being through counseling and increasing awareness of skill training opportunities. To help fund this vision, we are seeking financial partners; together we can restore dignity and community to isolated and ashamed Afghan refugees in Tehran.