Orphans in Afghanistan

An audiovisual exhibition by Farzana Wahidy (photos) and Shikiba Babori (concept/text/sound)

War devastated Afghanistan for four decades, leaving not only ruins, poverty and unemployment, but innumerable orphans. UNICEF estimates there are 1.6 million orphans in Afghanistan.
What do we know about these children? Where do they find refuge today? Who looks after them? Who are the orphans of Afghanistan? They do not know their date of birth, have no birth certificate, have lost every thread of any family network, and celebrate no holidays. Some of them were forced to watch as their parents, relatives, or friends were manhandled, raped, or killed. These children are unprotected and are exploited for the goals of various political and religious groups – initially as Koran pupils and later sometimes as fighters.
A total of 15 children aged seven to fourteen were portrayed by Farzana Wahidy and Shikiba Babori. The pictures and the personal stories enable the visitor to enter a world that until now has been foreign. The exhibition’s ambition is to stimulate discussions, provide impe- tus for viewers’ own thinking about the topic, and, not least, open up perspectives. But most of all, it aims to be a mouthpiece for those who otherwise are never heard: the orphans.