Posted By: Erica

Not far from Hazi Sharif’s construction materials shop, I met a shy young man who was finishing his apprenticeship to become a mechanic. “I was a student of [the senior mechanic]” Masood told me, “but now I am better than he is.”

Masood was not always so beaming. In December 2006, Masood, then 17, was walking home from school when a suicide bomber targeting a nearby convoy of Afghan National Army and Coalition Forces blew himself up a few meters away. Three others who were walking with Masood were killed, and three other nearby civilians were injured. Masood’s wounds were severe — he was hospitalized for one month after the incident for shrapnel and blast wounds to his head, and to his right arm and leg.

Masood had started learning mechanics part-time in addition to school before he was injured, so when The US-funded program for war victims — ACAP — came to him and told him abou what they could do to help him, he said he would like to become a mechanic. ACAP arranged vocational training with a local, experienced mechanic, and is also helping to provide some specialized machinery to help the business grow. Masood is the oldest of seven children and plays a big role in supporting them, so ACAP has also arranged to provide his siblings with school materials. Efforts like efforts like these to efforts like these to help war victims are so important in conflict — and so often overlooked by the warring parties. This US program should be a model in other places where civilians’ lives are torn apart by war.

Masood says he is fully recovered now, although his right arm is still not as strong as it used to be. He never lets that interfere with his work, though, he is quick to add.

Photo of Masood’s shop.

Erica Blog 0226

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