Decades of conflict in Afghanistan have left hundreds of thousands of civilians injured and in need of critical support as they recover their health and livelihoods.
Under the USAID-funded Conflict Mitigation Assistance for Civilians (COMAC) program, Blumont provides victims’ assistance to meet the needs of those who have suffered death, injury, or loss of income due to armed conflict. Assistance such as food or household items, is provided to allow families to focus on healing and coping immediately after incidents. Teams then work with victims to tailor support to meet longer-term recovery needs—whether it is access to medical care, emotional support to deal with trauma, or new ways to earn a living if a primary breadwinner has been affected.
Blumont works with Afghanistan’s Ministry for Martyrs and Disabled Affairs to build government capacity to provide victims’ assistance and raise awareness of available services. Teams work in provinces across the country to identify incidents, reach victims, and connect them with care.
Many civilians injured in attacks have to learn how to adjust to life with a disability. Their stories, and all the stories of those rebuilding their lives after attacks, highlight the continued need across Afghanistan.
Healthcare Helps Fawjoon Heal
Fawjoon, 17-years old, was taking his regular walk to school when an explosive device detonated near him, costing him his leg. He was immediately rushed to a hospital to be treated for his injuries. There, one of COMAC’s health officers referred him to a private hospital for surgery.
Throughout his recovery process, Blumont’s team ensured his family’s food and household needs were met so they could focus on helping Fawjoon heal.
After a few weeks, the COMAC health team again referred Fawjoon to the International Red Cross to be fitted for a prosthetic leg. With therapy and support, he was able to walk out of the treatment center on his own.
“I am pleased to have regain the ability to walk,” Fawjoon said. “I can go back to school. I will live a normal life.”
Counseling Puts Gulsom on the Path to Recovery
In 2019, Gulsom found herself caught in a firefight. The 13-year old sustained a serious head injury, causing her to lose sight in her right eye. While Gulsom was healing at a local hospital, Blumont provided immediate assistance packages to meet her parents’ household needs.
During COMAC’s health assessments, it was clear that the attack not only caused physical injury but also took a heavy emotional toll on Gulsom. She began to isolate herself out of fear of rejection and refused to get fitted for a prosthetic eye.
Gulsom eventually agreed to meet with a COMAC counselor and her parents began to see a difference in her confidence levels. Following the sessions, Gulsom decided that she would move forward with prosthesis.
“I now know that disability is not inability,” Gulsom said.
“We felt so hopeless. For us, it was very difficult to convince Gulsom to accept her new life,” Gulsom’s father said. “Thanks to Blumont’s support, she is recovering from this traumatic experience and feels worthy of leading a normal, happy life.”
Helping Esa Take a Step Forward
In January 2020, an attack injured not only militants, but also civilians like Esa, trying to hide in their own homes. Esa’s legs and left hand were severely injured.
The COMAC team supported his care—helping him access specialists at the regional hospital where his legs and hand had to be amputated. As he recovered, COMAC ensured that he had the medication, therapy, and supplies needed to heal and avoid infection. The team also connected Esa with physical rehabilitation and psychosocial counseling to help him heal and cope with his new reality.
When he was able, Esa was fitted for prosthetic legs. Now, he can walk and tend to the three sheep that COMAC provided to help him rebuild his livelihood.