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Safa, a young paraplegic girl, is making strides


Since meeting Humanity & Inclusion's (HI) mobile team in the region of Herat, 14-year-old Safa has covered a lot of ground.

Safa, 14, lives in Herat with her parents, two sisters, and three brothers.

Safa, 14, lives in Herat with her parents, two sisters, and three brothers. | © O. Zerah / HI

Provided with rehabilitation care and appropriate equipment, Safa, who has been paraplegic since childhood, can finally stand, take a few steps, draw... and dream of a new life!

HI’s emergency mobile teams in Afghanistan provide rehabilitation care and psychosocial support to people living in areas affected by decades of conflict. These specialist teams care manage people with disabilities by providing them with rehabilitation sessions and walking aids. In 2020, mobile teams in the Herat region provided follow-up care to 4,007 people. Safa, 14, is one of them.

Safa’s life changed when she met HI’s mobile team

Safa became paraplegic after developing a high fever as a little girl. She lost muscle tone and gradually her body became paralysed and deformed. She would spend hours sitting or lying down and her condition worsened. When our mobile team met Safa, they took immediate charge of her and provided her with at-home rehabilitation care, a wheelchair, and equipment adapted to her everyday life. HI also referred her to be fitted with orthoses.

Now Safa can stand tall

"I met Safa during one of our disability awareness sessions," explains the physiotherapist on the Herat mobile emergency team. "This paraplegic girl received no support unfortunately and she was almost completely reliant on others. Now I visit her regularly to do rehabilitation exercises. She can stand upright and her deformities are less severe. Once she had regained some strength in her muscles, we gave her a walking frame. We also referred her to another organisation for orthoses[1]. Safa is happy and proud of the progress she has made in just a few months".

Safa can dream again

Sitting and standing again have changed Safa’s life. She can draw and take part in everyday activities. She wants a normal life and would like to go to school. One thing's for sure: Safa is working hard to become more self-reliant and her head is filled with hopes for the future.

[1]Safa's orthoses were provided by CICR (The International Committee of the Red Cross).

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