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Photographer's Note

Two girls on their way to school, with the mighty Hindu Kush in the background. As opposed to Afghan women, girls were usually keen to talk to strangers and pose for photos. I always wondered if it was the case of them belonging to a new, educated generation or if they were simply still considered kids and therefore not yet expected to observe restrictions that apply to adults.

In many places around the world children are also, contrary to their parents, likely to ask for various things such as money or sweets. These girl were brave enough to enquire if I had pens or pencils to give away. I felt really sad that I was unable to fulfil their request. If I was to travel there again, I would bring with me a bag full of stationery... I have been told it’s best to help through NGOs etc. rather that offer gifts directly. But would you refuse kids that are so keen to learn that they beg for pens? Especially if they are girls in Afghanistan, the gender that was once deprived of education for years.

Adult women are trying to make up for that lost time by attending courses. I witnessed one of those in the village of Qazideh – as I was having lunch outside a guesthouse several local ladies gathered in the room adjacent to the garden. Azim explained they were attending a series of classes because they had not had an opportunity to learn when they were children. I could watch them through the open door and my curiosity was reciprocated. That particular lesson was largerly wasted, as all the heads were turned away from the teacher and towards the foreigner...

Note the cardboard box the girl on the left is clutching to her chest. It’s her treasure, her pencil case made of discarted packaging. I will upload a closer portrait of her in WS (as well as one other, unrelated, image).


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Additional Photos by Kasia Nowak (kasianowak) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1463 W: 7 N: 2901] (15556)
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