The T-O-I family would like to wish you and your family a 
Safe and Happy Holiday Season.
December 3rd was International Day of People with Disabilities. This newsletter is dedicated to the staff, clients, and program participants in T-O-I who have pushed through and over come their disabilities.
A little person with big heart
 
My name is Abdul Wali and I am what the world calls a little person. I am 32 years old and come from a family of six people. My younger brother is in the army, I have two sisters that work in governmental schools, and one sister is a little person like me. We all live at home with our mother and are sad to say our father died 24 years ago from cancer.
As a little person I have always been different from other people and have drawn a lot of unwanted attention. When I was in school, I had no problem with my classmates. However, every time I walked on the streets in the city, people would point at me and call me “short man”.  Over time I have learned that people who call me “short man” are insecure with themselves.  Most are not educated or come from the villages. 
When I was little, I watched a movie with Arnold Schwarzenegger in it. I wanted to be like him and so I started weight training. On my way to the gym, I would have to go through police check points.  They would question me as to where I am going and when I told them that I was going to the gym, they would make fun of me. They said that I am too short for doing sports. Despite the negative criticism, I continued to train and prepare for competitions. I am happy to say that I took first place at the 2002 Paralympics, in the power-lifting event.  In total, I have participated in six competitions at the national level and three times I have won the national cup.


 









I had received media recognition and become famous for power-lifting, yet my disability really became an obstacle when I started to look for a job. Businesses did not want to hire people like me, because I am different from others. The only jobs I could find were working as a tailor.  This job was not a full time steady job as I was only called into work when the shop had orders, which did not happen very often.

 















Today, I still do weight training and I am happy to say I have found a full time job as a greeter in a financial institution through the Job Placement Program at T-O-M.  I am the first person whom people meet when they enter into the building. I smile to clients and wish them a good day. I am hoping to be promoted soon to a higher position and I’m working on my computer and English language skills.
I now have a sustainable income and can contribute to taking care of my mother and siblings. I would like to marry in the near future, but that seems to be my next challenge in life.  Every time my mother approaches a family with a proposal for their daughter, they say no…because I am a little person.  I may be a little person, but I have a big kind heart and I hope one day to be able to give it to someone.  
 
People call me disabled, but I do not think I am

My name is Samir and I live in Kabul, Afghanistan. I am from a big family, and I started working when I was in the seventh grade, to help support them. While in school I spent my time focusing and studying English.  After the fall of the Taliban, knowledge of English was one the main requirements for locals to work with NATO forces.  With the influx of foreign troops there was a high demand for translators.
 At that time, there were twelve of us local Afghans who were assigned to a US Marine Corp unit.  We all knew that the Taliban was trying to hurt and even kill us because we were working with US troops.  I was injured three times while doing my duty. On orders from the Taliban, I was hit by a car on two different occasions. The third time I stepped on an IED (improvised explosive device).
I lost my leg in the explosion and stayed in hospital for two weeks. Because of the support of neighbors and family, I was able to recover fast. Despite my mother’s concern about my health, I decided to get back to work and continue my education; because my family needed me to provide for them.
After my accident I had to change my career path, so I opened an educational center. Anyone could come and take Mathematics, English, and Computer Classes.  The education center kept me busy and I did not have time to think that something was different or wrong with me.
I now work as a Finance Controller for a large organization in Kabul.  I am happily married with two beautiful daughters.
My message to others is that having a disability should not stop a person from developing and improving their lives. There is only a small difference between a person with a disability and a person without.  For example, a non-disabled person can move faster than a disabled person.  But in the end, everyone has responsibilities in life and these responsibilities have to be taken seriously.  One cannot feel sorry for themselves or dwell on what happened to them.  They need to get up and push on and choose to make something of their lives. My message for all people is that we do not get to choose to be injured and disabled, it just happens. It can happen to anyone, anytime, and anywhere. Education is the key to success.  Every person no matter what their race, religion, or physical abilities should try to learn as much as they can.
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Todays Numbers
Active Clients 5,443
Job Placement 67
DIY Creations 9
Transition Home 4
Transition Home- Graduates  2 
A new brace for Obaid!
Obaid is a 20-year-old hard working an Afghan guy. He and his brother lost their parents at an early age.Their father passed away from cancer and their mother passed away during the civil war.  Not only is Obaid an orphan, but he also has a physical disability as a result of having polio as a infant.  Obaid was able to find a job through the T-O-M Job Placement Program, and he now has a job as copy machine operator.  As a result of having polio, Obiad ended up a deform right leg that has no muscle to support his weight.  Therefore, he has to wear a brace on his right leg that starts just under his hip and runs down his leg to his ankle and under his foot.  Obaid has had his current leg brace for 3 years and unfortunately as his body has grown his brace has not.  Now his brace is very uncomfortable, wore out from wear and tear, and makes loud squeaking sounds when he walks.  Obaid is able to cover his daily living expenses, however his salary is not enough to cover the cost of a new brace.  The price of a custom brace to fit him is $250 USD. This new brace will help Obaid to move freely and will not cause pain with every movement.
If you would like to help Obaid, you can make a donation by going to our website and clicking the donate button.  Please let us know this is for Obaid.  Any amount is welcome.
Donate for a new brace for Obaid!
Faramorz is 32- year-old businessman who owns a grocery shop in Kabul. Faramorz has been a client for T-O-M for last five years and has recently taken a new loan to expand his business. He is one of T-O-M’s unique clients, as he lost both of his legs when a military airplane dropped a bomb on his location, yet he runs a business to support his family.Faramorz says, “if a person has a disability, it should not be an obstacle for continuing to live. People should work hard and should never give up.”
Micro-Finance 
Job Placement
Disaster Relief
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For more information please check www.t-o-i.org
or email:Hello@tom-af.com