A Cluster bomb in Afghanistan claims both legs for Soraj
Soraj was only ten years old when he lost both legs to a cluster bomb in his hometown of Herat, Afghanistan.
It was 2001 when ten-year-old Soraj was playing with his cousin and friends in his war-stricken neighborhood in Herat, Afghanistan, when they became intrigued by a colourful yellow box in the street. Confused by the foreign object, Soraj and his friends went in for a closer look, only for the object to explode upon their presence. The yellow, colourful object was a Cluster bomb, which claimed the life of Soraj's cousin, injured four of his friends, and left him with no legs. Soraj explains in his story on handicap-international.org.uk that "games and leisure activities had stopped altogether", as he was "thrown into suffering and difficulties...a wheelchair user forever".
Soraj's story went worldwide as he was later invited to Australia when he was 19 as a part of a campaign to encourage a world-wide ban on cluster bombs, and to draw attention to the plight of the disabled in Afghanistan. Cluster bombs are the legacy of two wars - against Russia in the 1980's and the long war with the Taliban. Some areas, including Soraj's hometown, are littered with unexploded munitions that failed to detonate.
Soraj has had previous conversions completed by PME, however, recently we installed new hand controls for Soraj. The push/pull hand-assisted driving control are of mechanical linkage type, pushing forward for brake and pulling back for accelerator. Electronic self-cancelling indicators switching via hand control were also installed, along with a Spinmaster steering-wheel aid.
Soraj now speaks for the thousands of innocent victims of cluster munitions and the overall destruction of war in his country, speaking at conferences about people with disabilities to "gain his self-confidence back", ensuring that "my children don't have the same problems as me". Soraj's experience is truly remarkable and inspiring, another amazing addition to the many one-of-a-kind stories for us here at PME.