Children of war

In countries at war, childhood is a luxury that not everybody can afford.

While walking around Kabul it is impossible not to notice group of street children at every corner.

Industrious, sad, deprived of the lightness that should mark their age.

They clean windshields, collect garbage, do deliveries pushing wheelbarrows.

They burn incense over bits of coal in tin cans and fight evil spirits with their fumes in exchange for a little money.

It is difficult to see smiling children on the streets of Kabul.

Sara Nabil is a young, talented multi-media artist who has been studying and working with Ustad Omarzad at the Centre for Contemporary Arts Afghanistan since 2006. The featured image of this blog post is part of a new documentary project she is currently working on in Chaman Hazuri and Parwan-e-du refugee camps.

“I like close-ups” she tells me “They make you feel very close and they reveal people’s emotions. Especially the eyes”

The elders in the refugee camps did not allow her to tak photos of women, but agreed for her to work with the children. She took their photos and they drew her portrait in the tent that serves as a school.

“All the boys in the camps work” she says.

“But it not good, young children should not be working”, I object.

“You don’t understand. It is good that they all work. That’s why I like them, because they work and earn their living instead of being on the street and ask for money without doing anything, just like beggars”.

It makes its own sense – perhaps. And it is true. I don’t understand.

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