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In Afghanistan, a UNICEF staff member stands strong as a champion for children's rights

© UNICEF Afghanistan/2013
Mohammad Qasim Nazari's vehicle came under attack in Herat province in 2006. The UNICEF WASH officer survived but had to have one of his legs amputated.

UNICEF commemorates World Humanitarian Day by recognizing all humanitarians who have lost their lives in the course of their work, and those who continue to serve.

KABUL, Afghanistan, 23 May 2013 – Mohammad Qasim Nazari started his career with UNICEF Afghanistan in 2001, when he was appointed as WASH Assistant with UNICEF in Herat, western Afghanistan. Later he was promoted to the position of WASH Officer in the same region.

Mr. Nazari loves travelling across the region and working for the betterment of children. He says that the happiest time of his life was when he inaugurated a water supply project in a remote area of Afghanistan that provided children with clean drinking water.

“Worst moment of my life”

 “It was 2006, and I was tasked to travel to the province of Badghis to open the water project. I travelled to the location and completed the task successfully. It was by far the happiest moment of my life,” says the WASH officer. “However, those moments didn’t last long, it was Friday 12 May 2006, and I was on the way back to Herat province when a rocket propelled grenade was fired at us. The rocket first hit the chest of the driver, Sarajuddin, then went through my legs. Dr. Zmarai Multezar, who was sitting right behind me, was shot dead as he ran from the vehicle. The incident happened about 90 kilometres from Herat province around 2 pm.

"It all happened so suddenly, and by the time I realised what had happened, I had lost my two friends. I also realised that I had severely injured my legs. The police escort which was escorting us was nowhere to be seen, and I took shelter under the car. Soon I started losing hope, also because of my injury, I started falling unconscious and then tried to bring myself back. I thought I was about to die. However with the grace of God, I survived,” says the brave colleague.

© UNICEF Afghanistan/2013
Mr. Nazari remains committed to his work. "No job is better than helping children and women," he says.

“It was 6 p.m. by the time the second driver came to rescue me. The moment I got into the car, I fainted only to wake up in hospital. This was the worst moment of my life.” Mr. Nazari adds. He was sent to Dubai for treatment, where the doctors had to amputate one of his legs.

In spite of his serious injury, Mr. Nazari rejoined the office, and his commitment to his work and to the children of Afghanistan is as solid as ever.

No better job

“I find working with UNICEF very interesting," he says. "In my mind, no job is better than helping children and women. Children are the foundation of the human society, and if we guide them well, they will take good care of the world, and this is the why I decided to work with UNICEF Afghanistan.”



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