In 2005, Mahpekay Sidiqy entered the premises of the Kabul Orthopedic Organization (KOO) for the first time. As a woman, it is not easy to work in the medical field in Afghanistan. However, Mahpekay was driven by her own destiny and has been steadily improving her skills starting as a workshop helper. “In addition to my engagement as a Prosthetic & Orthotic (P&O) professional, I am also a bilateral above-knee amputee, and therefore a user of the P&O services myself.” Three decades of wars have brought devastating circumstances upon Afghanistan: “Many people have lost their limbs and suffered from diseases which created physical problems. These people need help. We are all humans and we depend on each other, thus we should try to help each other.” One further reason why she has selected the P&O profession is because according to the Afghan tradition, women are not allowed to go to a male P&O or doctor: “At the same time, as you know, in orthotic and prosthetic treatment the patient should be completely relaxed and develop a confidence in the clinician, so that she is able to express her expectations from the treatment and help the clinician provide the best service.” Unfortunately, there are few women in the P&O profession and even fewer with high P&O education in Afghanistan: “It is my belief that my best contribution to helping women with disability in Afghanistan is by educating myself further in this profession.”
Organizations like the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and HUMAN STUDY e.V. (HS) have done tremendous work in the last years, and are now offering educational possibilities unthinkable a decade ago: ”Having passed the entry test to Mahidol University, I am currently enrolled in the Blended Learning Bachelor program implemented jointly by Mahidol University, HUMAN STUDY e.V. and the ICRC. I am grateful to the implementers of this educational program for providing me and my colleagues in similar situations with this opportunity to study and develop ourselves further in the P&O profession.” Good luck, dear Mahpekay, we are grateful for having the possibility to support your next professional steps!