Reference : V-P-AF-E-00814
Date : 24/10/2007
Country/Region : AFGHANISTAN
Caption : Kandahar. Mine risk educator.
Photographer : KOKIC, Marko
Confidentiality level : public
Publication restrictions : publication without restrictions
Copyright : ICRC
Description : Tenth anniversary of the Ottawa Convention: Media resources on landmines in Afghanistan, 16.11.07:

Musa Khan
Musa Khan, age 54, works for the Afghanistan Red Crescent Society as a mine risk educator in Kandahar, in the south of the country.

"I used to be a logistics expert in the national army, but my accident was completely unrelated to military life. In fact, I was tending my sheep and goats in a field when I stepped on a landmine. That was almost 15 years ago.

When the explosion happened, I didn't feel anything – even though my right leg was gone. After some time, people came to help me and drove me to the clinic in Kandahar, but the treatment there was not good. Eventually I was taken to an ICRC hospital in Quetta (Pakistan).

My left leg was also badly injured. I was desperate that I wouldn't lose that leg too, but gangrene set in and after 15 days it was amputated. I was devastated.
I was extremely worried about how I would look after my family. I had three children at the time, and I didn't know how I would manage to feed them and provide for them.

I got out of hospital after 51 days and tried to get around in a wheelchair, but it was very difficult. Eventually I got artificial legs and slowly but surely learned to walk again.

We survived those early days with the help of family and friends who supported us, and even collected money on our behalf. I also started teaching children Pashto language in my home, and the local primary school paid me a small salary for this. I didn't want charity and didn't want people to feel sorry for me. It was very important for me to try to do things for myself.

A few years ago, I approached the Afghanistan Red Crescent Society in Kandahar to ask if any jobs were available. To my delight they offered me a job as a mine risk educator. Obviously I'm well qualified to do such a job. Normally a team of us go to various villages in the province, and teach in schools or mosques, sometimes in hospitals or clinics.

It's great to be able to pass on what I know about the danger of landmines and how to try to avoid them. Hopefully through my own misfortune I can at least help other people, and prevent more people falling victim to mines."
Original material : digital
Resolution : 2681x4029
Orientation : portrait
Colour/B&W : colour