Five-year-old Ahmad Rahman was thrilled when he received his new prosthetic leg last week, and gave a little dance with a huge grin on his face as his physical therapists and nurses looked on. One of them grabbed her camera and posted the video online, where it quickly went viral.
Ahmad has been fitted with several prosthetic legs at the orthopedic center run by the International Committee of the Red Cross in Kabul since he lost his leg during a battle between Taliban and Afghan forces when he was eight months old. This is his third. His sister Salima, now seven, was also wounded in the attack.
Ahmad lives with his family in Logar province, south of Kabul. He is a longtime patient at the Red Cross rehabilitation programme, one of the few medical centres in Afghanistan that offers free healthcare.
Roya Musawi, a spokeswoman for the Red Cross in Kabul who shared the video on social media, said Ahmad was an inspiration to the center's employees.
Everyone in our centre knows him because he’s always in a good mood. He brings joy to this place. He doesn’t stop smiling, and he sings, too! He has a lovely voice. That’s why we started filming him when he got his new prosthetic leg.
Ahmad started dancing as soon as he put it on and was asking people for high fives. His new prosthetic leg is much more comfortable than his last one because it fits him better, as he's getting bigger.
Our job is to encourage patients and give them positive energy. But with Ahmad, it’s the opposite. His smile and his energy are a source of inspiration for all of us here, especially when we know how hard his life is.
Ahmad comes from a poor family. His father is bedridden and Ahmad doesn’t have access to regular healthcare, let alone orthopaedic care.
There are many people like Ahmad in Afghanistan. Around a hundred people come to our centre in Kabul every day hoping to get a prosthetic limb that they can’t afford.
In 2018, the Red Cross provided patients in Afghanistan with more than 22,000 prosthetic limbs. The violence in the country last year was the deadliest for civilians, with 3,804 people killed, including more than 900 children, according to the United Nations.
This story was written by Ershad Alijani.