A new arm to start a new life!

The campaign Second arm, second life for Khuram, is trying to help Khuram Shahzad getting a prosthesis

A lot of small actions can make a big difference in the world we are surrounded by and in other people’s lives. We do not necessarily need to travel a thousand kilometers to help. We can contribute to our cities, neighborhoods, educational centers, NGOs, or supporting fundraising campaigns from anywhere. The campaign Second arm, second life for Khuram | Νέο χέρι, νέα ζωή is trying to change the life of Khuram Shahzad by getting him a prosthesis.

Κhuram is 26 and he has lived without a right arm for ten years. In his home country, Pakistan, he had to deal with particularly challenging conditions. In Pakistan, persons who have a disability are marginalized, socially, economically, and politically. “Life in Pakistan was exceedingly difficult because I wasn’t able to do any kind of job. People felt I couldn’t be of help and it was a very hard time”, Khuram explains.

He decided to leave Pakistan and start writing his own story of personal overcoming in Greece.  However, because Pakistan is considered a “safe country”, he is unlikely to be accepted as a refugee in Greece. As an asylum-seeker, he is treated by the Greek health system as uninsured, which means that he will receive only emergency care, with no possibility of being fitted with an artificial limb.

Khuram met Christos Goudinakos, who is a member of Oikopolis, in the market in Thessaloniki while there were a group of volunteers collecting food for people in need. And he quickly decided to become a volunteer, joining in the market and some of the activities the Oikopolis organizes. Right now, he is studying and enrolled in night school, and looking for a job. “I am taking Greek and English classes. I would like to become a teacher or to work in an NGO. I want to work for other people, to help them and to contribute as much as possible”, he explains.

Khuram is taking English and Greek classes- Oikopolis

“I can’t share my arm, but I can make a campaign”

The campaign was created by Verena Fink, Dimitris Kanteres, and Christos Goudinakos, all of them members of Oikopolis. “Creating this campaign was a logical step. What we try is to make the life of people who are disadvantaged a bit better: it could be people coming to get fruits and vegetables, or clothes. And in this case, it is an arm, so it’s different, but in a way is the same. It’s the idea of solidarity, of sharing things with people who don’t have it. I can’t share my arm, but I can make a campaign”, Verena Fink explains.

So far, the campaign Second Arm, Second Life for Khuram has reached 5,649 euros out of 13,000 in FundRazr and there have been 126 contributors. It has appeared in some media and it is aiming to become as international as possible. “13.000 euros is a huge number, but I feel it is still possible if you can reach people not only in Greece, but also in other countries”, Fink states.

A new beginning

In Greece, Khuram has found the strength and the courage for a new beginning. He trains hard in the gym in the Oikopolis, and even he doesn’t remove his mask, it is possible to sense that he has a bright smile.

Khuram trains in the gym – Oikopolis

A new prosthesis would mean Khuram would be able to look after himself, able to work and to be independent, and able to enjoy life again. Sometimes little things are the ones that make us feel alive. “I feel that with one hand I can’t do a lot, but if I am able to get another hand, I will be able to do many things I can’t right now and I could have a better life”. For Khuram, a new life can be riding a bike trying to ‘chase’ the sunset next to the sea, cooking a meal, sewing clothes for his friends, shaking hands or playing cricket.

Post Author: Laura Andres Tallarda

Hello! I am Laura, a 27 years old journalist from Barcelona. I am addicted to chocolate and to travel. I have lived in Belgium and Canada, but I am allergic to umbrellas. I came to Greece looking for the sun and, above all, to discover hidden stories that still have not been told.

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