AFGHANISTAN / WHEELCHAIR BASKETBALL PLAYER

23-Jul-2019 00:02:43
Growing up as a child refugee in Pakistan, Wahida was isolated and immobile due to a spinal disorder. But her life has been transformed since her family’s return to Afghanistan, where she received treatment and gained newfound self-esteem playing wheelchair basketball. UNHCR
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STORY: AFGHANISTAN / WHEELCHAIR BASKETBALL PLAYER
TRT: 2:43
SOURCE: UNHCR
RESTRICTIONS: PLEASE CREDIT UNHCR ON SCREEN
LANGUAGE: DARI /NATS

DATELINE: 12 JULY 2019, KABUL, AFGHANISTAN
SHOTLIST
1. Pan left, Wahida shooting a ball
2. Close up, ball enters the hoop
3. Various shots, basketball game
4. SOUNDBITE (Dari) Wahida, aspiring athlete:
“I’ve had this problem since I was in my mother’s womb. I had a growth next to my lower spine, and they had to operate on it. Four years ago, I had my foot amputated, and a year ago, they took the other one off.”
5. Various shots, girls playing basketball
6. Med shot, coach giving instructions
7. Close up, coach
8. SOUNDBITE (Dari) Wahida, aspiring athlete:
“Twice a week I come here to practice. It’s been a huge help for me psychologically, and for my health. And I’m happy here because I have a lot of friends.”
9. Med shot, coach throwing the ball between the players.
10. Pan right, girls playing
11. SOUNDBITE (Dari) Wahida, aspiring athlete:
“I’m super motivated. I want to make it onto the national team, serve Afghanistan and raise its name to the level of other countries.”
12. Various shots, girls playing
13. SOUNDBITE (Dari) Wahida, aspiring athlete:
“This has been such a good and positive change in my life. Before I started coming to basketball, I was very depressed at home, to be honest, thinking about my disability and feeling sad all the time because I didn’t see other people. When I came here, I got to meet other people and see their problems, and I realized that mine were minor compared to theirs. I know I can do something with my life.”
14. Wide shot, Wahida putting on her plastic leg
15. Close up, Wahida putting her 2nd plastic leg
16. Med shot, Wahida standing up
17. Med shot, Wahida sitting with her girlfriends
18. Close up, Wahida’s face
19. Pan right, Wahida walking away
STORYLINE
Growing up as a child refugee in Pakistan, Wahida was isolated and immobile due to a spinal disorder. But her life has been transformed since her family’s return to Afghanistan, where she received treatment and gained newfound self-esteem playing wheelchair basketball.

Wahida Noor M. Khan, 18 years old, was born in Peshawar, where her family had gone to flee war in Afghanistan. But facing mounting problems in exile, they made a return in 2016. Ongoing insecurity in their hometown of Jalalabad led them to Kabul instead, where Wahida’s sister and other family members were living.

For Wahida, despite its challenges, the return has been transformative. As a child she had been diagnosed with spina bifida, a spinal birth defect. Doctors consulted in Pakistan operated on her lower back, but said they could not treat her severe case, and her problems grew. Four years ago she had a foot amputated in Pakistan due to related conditions; last year, in Kabul, doctors took her other foot off.

Recuperating in Kabul, isolated and unable to leave home or attend school, she was told by a friend about an orthopedic clinic run by the International Committee of the Red Cross which serves patients without taking any fees. There she was first given prosthetic legs and feet. And then, she was given a new lease on life.

Wahida receives treatment at the ICRC orthopedic clinic, and schooling thanks to its programme which sends teachers to severely disabled children’s homes. She hopes to graduate with a secondary degree in four years. But the greatest change has come through wheelchair basketball and meeting other young Afghan women athletes, finding strength and solidarity through sport. Most of the women have been displaced within Afghanistan by the war and ongoing conflict, and some were raised as refugees in Pakistan or Iran – but all have moved to the Afghan capital with their families, sometimes seeking medical care, always seeking greater safety.

In the same gym where the Afghan national wheelchair basketball teams train, Wahida is hoping to improve through a twice-weekly practice enough to make the cut for the A team. Five members of the Kabul A team also play on the national team, which in just two years of existence has started to travel internationally. Last year, it came in fourth in the Asian Para Games last year in Thailand.
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unifeed190723c