The Power of Humanity & Innovative Thinking

On May 8, 2017, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and swissnex Boston will launch the ICRC Collaborative Platform – a new, Boston-based hub where innovation meets humanitarianism with the aim of solving some of today’s most pressing challenges linked to war and armed violence. Read the media advisory

One of the ICRC’s longest-serving delegates, Alberto Cairo, is traveling from Afghanistan to Boston to take part in the launch. Cairo is no stranger to adversity or innovation. Known as the “Honorary Afghan” and a humanitarian hero to many, Cairo has helped over 150,000 disabled Afghans to learn to walk again during his three-decade career in Afghanistan, where he runs the ICRC’s orthopedic rehab program.

Afghanistan is a country where the disabled are generally given pity but no rights. Nearly 30 years ago, Cairo set out to change that. 

But a disabled person needs more than a prosthetic leg, and the ability to walk in order to recover. He or she needs a role in society and a sense of dignity and self-respect. In Afghanistan, where life is difficult enough for everybody, a disabled person needs more help than most. But what, precisely? The same as anywhere else in the world: education, a chance to learn new skills and thus to get a job, or a small loan to start a business, and the opportunity to play, practice sport, and have fun.

These images offer a glimpse into the help and hope the ICRC strives to bring to the people of Afghanistan.

For more on the ICRC Collaborative Platform, click here. For more on the ICRC's work in Afghanistan, go here. You can watch Cairo's moving TedTalk here