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 You are in: Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs: Electronic Information and Publications Office > Photo Gallery > Photos by Regions and Topics > South and Central Asia > Afghanistan > 2003

Wheelchair Foundation To Begin Distribution of 5,000 Wheelchairs to Disabled in Afghanistan

Please click on pictures for larger images. State Department photos.

12-year-old Afghan boy receives wheelchair, Kabul, Sept. 2003. State Dept. photo.Sept. 22, 2003, Kabul, Afghanistan: The Wheelchair Foundation joined today with the Ministry of Martyrs & Disabled, the Comprehensive Disabled Afghans’ Programme (a UNDP/UNOPS initiative) and the United States Departments of Defense and State to begin the distribution of more than 5,000 wheelchairs to disabled Afghans. Wheelchair Foundation founder Kenneth E. Behring was accompanied by U.S. Defense and State Department officials as well as several private contributors who helped purchase the wheelchairs. Man in wheelchair at Wheelchair Foundation event in Kabul, Sept. 2003. State Dept. photo.

Wheelchair Foundation Chairman Behring at Kabul event, Sept. 22, 2003. State Dept. photo.The Foundation’s goal is to provide a wheelchair to everyone in the world who needs but cannot afford one. Today’s distribution was part of the Foundation’s public-private partnership strategy to aid in reconstruction and humanitarian relief overseas. 

“The Afghan people have suffered a great deal, and I am glad that we have the means to help lighten their load a little,” said Mr. Behring, who has personally distributed wheelchairs to many war-torn nations. “When I see the happiness on the faces of the people who get a wheelchair, I feel that this is the best thing I have ever done in my life.” 

 Wheelchair Foundation Chairman Behring at Kabul event, Sept. 22, 2003. State Dept. photo.Since 2000, the Wheelchair Foundation has delivered more than 170,000 wheelchairs in over 100 countries to victims of war, disability, and disease. An estimated 100 to 130 million disabled people worldwide need wheelchairs, with the greatest need existing in developing countries.

Boy in wheelchair at Wheelchair Foundation event, Kabul, Sept. 2003. State Dept. photo.“We are grateful to the Wheelchair Foundation for this initiative to support the disabled population of Afghanistan,” said H.E. Minister Abdullah Wardak, Minister of Martyrs and Disabled. “These wheelchairs will allow our citizens to regain mobility–the first step toward successful integration into society.” The leading cause of disabilities worldwide is landmines, particularly in developing nations like Afghanistan. Every year 26,000 people are injured or killed by landmines around the world.


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