Alberto Cairo leads the International Red Cross' orthopedic rehabilitation work in Afghanistan.

Why you should listen

Alberto Cairo is the head of the ICRC's orthopedic program in Afghanistan. He's spent the past two decades in this war-ravaged nation -- far from his native Italy -- helping an estimated 100,000 Afghan landmine and accident victims learn to find the strength within themselves to not only walk, but also to hope, again.

In a country where the disabled are generally given pity but no rights, Alberto found a way -- through micro-loans, positive discrimination schemes and home schooling -- to give tens of thousands of disabled Afghans a job and a sense of dignity and pride.

About him, John F. Burns wrote in the New York Times: "Afghans of all ethnic and political stripes, even the Taliban, seem likely to count Alberto Cairo as one foreigner who left the country better than he found it."

His diary, "Storie da Kabul," based on a series of stories he wrote for Italy's La Repubblica, has been published in Italian and in French.

What others say

““Mr. Alberto,” he said. “We love him. Please put that down. We love him.”” — Shah Mohammed, quoted in the New York Times

Alberto Cairo’s TED talk

More news and ideas from Alberto Cairo