As unlikely as it seems for a young man with a disability (Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita) that requires he walk with crutches Mohammad (not his real name) is a sports enthusiast who works out regularly at a gym near the CWS-organize group home where he lives in Jakarta along with 39 other teens. After inviting a few others to join him, he teaches them how to use gym equipment properly and safely and he coaches them in their weight training, which is his passion. Clearly, there is just no way he lets his disability slow him down.
Also, seemingly unlikely for a young man with an especially tragic history, Mohammad’s is enthusiasm is infectious and he seems to have boundless energy. At age 15 Mohammad left Afghanistan alone after his father was killed for converting to Christianity and the killer threatened his life as well. After finding his way to Indonesia through a difficult air and land journey that is well known to hundreds of young asylum seekers, he was referred by staff from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, to live in a CWS-supported group home for unaccompanied and separated children, many of whom are Afghan, but none of whom are disabled.
Since his need for help in walking never got Mohammad down, CWS staff followed his positivity and sorted out modifying a bathroom for easier access. The Social Workers encouraged him to join activities in the group home, and not just go to the gym alone. “It feels good to live with people I know. They are friends and like family to me. I feel very safe here.”, says Mohammad. While Mohammad enjoys all the classes and daily activities in the group home his favorite past time is still exercise, and he aspires to be a professional body builder and, whether he reaches that goal or not, he is a positive role model for the other children, too – no matter what adversity and challenges they face. Speaking simply and not too loftily, Mohammad says, “I love sports and exercise; they make me feel healthy and happy. I’m also glad to see my friends doing positive activities. And I’m grateful that CWS supports us all for this.”
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