There are times when the term “disabled” simply doesn’t apply. That’s definitely true for the cricket team sponsored by Clear Path International in Afghanistan’s Nangarhar Province. Although team members all possess some type of physical disability, their winning record against completely able-bodied opponents calls into question whether labeling them as the disabled cricket team is indeed appropriate.
The team was created by CPI’s partner, Afghan Disabled Vulnerable Society (ADVS) to provide sports activities for youth with physical challenges, and to change public perceptions about the role of disabled persons in the community. Most of the players live in Jalalabad City, the bustling epicenter of the province near the Pakistan border. They are landmine survivors, young men who have contracted polio, or who’ve suffered in other ways from violence or disease related to war and the lack of medical care.
And yet they excel at competitive cricket. These men have played together for more than two years, having won several matches against teams without a single disabled player. Recently, they won the overall trophy in a five-team tournament in Jalalabad. Over three days, they defeated each of the opposing teams, none of which had disabled members.
Through its expert coaches, ADVS trains young men for physically challenging sports, teaches them cooperative and team-focused skills and shores up their self-esteem. ADVS is one of several Afghan organizations that partner with Clear Path to assist persons with disabilities, including survivors of landmine and cluster munition accidents.
CPI’s Afghan program, funded by the Department of State’s Office of Weapons Removal and Abatement, has already helped more than 16,000 people with disabilities in the war-torn nation. CPI also assists victims of war in Vietnam, Cambodia, along the Thai-Burma border and in Lao PDR.
Clear Path International assists landmine survivors and other victims of war in Afghanistan and Southeast Asia, and is a member of Global Washington.
Afghan Disabled Cricket Team Proves Ability
Karen Matthee | Clear Path International | February 8