Musawir Shija (L), the founder of an FM radio station, works at his station office in Shiberghan, capital of Jawzjan province, northern Afghanistan, Oct. 18, 2020. (Xinhua/Mohammad Jan Aria)
by Abdul Haleem
SHIBERGHAN, Afghanistan, Oct. 29 (Xinhua) -- In war-battered Afghanistan where countless disabled people have been living in misery, Musawir Shija has established an FM radio station to demonstrate the capability of people with physical impairments.
According to Shija, being disabled is not a disadvantage if the disabled person makes good use of his or her personality, wisdom and capabilities.
Shija named the station after himself and the owner said with pride that 15 people including females have been employed since its inauguration two months ago.
"Disability does not mean inability. A blind man running a radio station and hiring 15 people to work for the broadcasting service is proof of this fact," Shija told Xinhua.
Shija, 30, lost his sight when he was seven years old due to a war injury. He said his radio station broadcast a variety of programs including music around the clock and aims to raise awareness about the rights of disabled people and their status in society.
Shija Radio is the first of its kind to have gone on air in Afghanistan.
"Disabilities including blindness are not inabilities," said Shija. "Four out of my 15 employees are disabled and they fulfill their responsibility perfectly," Shija, a father of three, whispered joyfully.
Nasira Mubariz, a 17-year-old female who works as a news reader for the radio, said that she spent her salary from the station on her education.
Disabled people in conflict-battered Afghanistan, according to Mubariz, comprise an "isolated segment" in society as people rarely respect their rights.
"Before joining Shija Radio I was a marginalized person in society and was often insulted by many people including strangers and relatives, but nowadays my family members and friends approach me politely," Mubariz explained.
Mubariz also called upon government and non-government aid agencies to play their role in the rehabilitation of disabled people including blind men and women to improve their status in society and help them become independent.
A total of 125 blind people who have lost their visual ability due to incidents in the protracted war have been registered in the northern Jawzjan province, local officials said.
Although there are no official statistics on the figure of visually impaired people living in Afghanistan, according to media reports, some 400,000 people have lost their sight due to injuries sustained during the prolonged war and civil strife in the war-plagued country.
"As human beings we blind people have the right to enjoy an honorable life. We have the right to study, to work and to live our daily lives," Ahmad Baes, who was born blind 16 years ago in Jawzjan provincial capital Shiberghan City, told Xinhua. Enditem