In Afghanistan, Bicycle Courier Service Provides Work For the Wounded
Decades of war and internal strife in Afghanistan have left many Afghanis wounded, disabled and unable to work. In fact, so bad is the situation that "according to the United Nations an average of 60 people every month are killed or wounded by landmines or explosives left over from war in Afghanistan." However, in 2002 a local NGO started the Disabled Cycle Messenger Services (DCMS) which, like any other bicycle courier service, delivers letters and packages, you guessed it, by bicycle.
The difference is that, as the name implies, all of DCMS's employees are disabled, and they work in one of the world's poorest and most war-torn countries. Many ride with one leg, and must strap crutches to their bikes for use when they arrive at their destination. Because Kabul's streets are often clogged with vehicular traffic, security barriers and military convoys, bike messengers can get from place to place faster--and with far less hassle--than an automobile. Using "heavy Chinese manufactured bicycles costing around $50" the employees work hard, sometimes riding up to 30 kilometers a day, and for little money. Still, it's enough to put food on the table, and in a country where half of the citizens live below the poverty line, any work, especially for the disabled, is a welcome development. One employee put it this way:
"Of course it's hard work, even for an able bodied person. . .But the fact that I can work and I don't have to sit on the side of the road and beg for money and can provide food for my family gives me a big sense of pride."
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