The Afghanistan Wheelchair Basketball Project started when a newly formed wheelchair basketball team in Maimana, Afghanistan sent a request to the United States for someone to teach them how to play the game. The request made its way to Jess Markt, at the time a player for the New York Rollin’ Knicks of the National Wheelchair Basketball Association (now player/coach of the Denver Rolling Nuggets), who agreed to travel to Afghanistan in November 2009 to spend a week coaching the team.

Following this life-changing experience, Jess began working with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and Motivation UK to first deliver basketball wheelchairs and then, together with the ICRC, to promote and teach the game to disabled athletes across the country. As of 2015, Afghanistan’s wheelchair basketball league includes men’s teams in six provinces and women’s teams in three, with semi-annual training camps and national championship tournaments being held for both. Jess continues to travel to Afghanistan to train the ever-growing group of players (now at over 350 total) and is also the head coach of the first Afghanistan men’s and women’s national wheelchair basketball teams.

Jess has also worked with the ICRC to implement and support programs in other developing countries, including India, Palestine, and Cambodia.

Contact Jess at jwmarkt(at)

6 Responses to “About”

  1. Gail gombos Says:

    Dearest Jess, your enthusiasm and GREAT writing has always inspired all who have been fortunate enough to have YOU in their life! You have been so successful with so many! Love you Jess, Gail Gombos

  2. Joe Bravo Says:

    Jess, How’s beautiful downtown Kabul. Stay safe bro. joe

  3. I am very happy that Jess practice and gives us hope that we will not forget and will always travel to Afghanistan
    Special thank Jess and her colleagues have
    And tacitly Red Cross (ICRC) is to help disabled athletes!

  4. Emily Says:

    Jess, you are my liver, if you know what I mean.

  5. Dennis Howe Says:

    I love how you’re making a difference, my friend! This comes as no surprise at all to me. You’ve always been a guy I felt would do something truly important in the world and it’s really cool to watch from afar as you do just that.

  6. Evelyn Cherow Says:

    Hi Jess, want to include you as a reviewer of a draft UNESCO survey on a new program to identify and share the lives of empowered persons with disabilities. Could you share your email/contact info with me and your contact in Gaza and Afghanistan? Very excited to learn of these sports programs! Congratulations!

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