Said Zaker Hussein and Razia
Said Ali Agha
Ahmad Ali and Sedeqa
Between 2003 and 2011, I traveled to Afghanistan fourteen times. In those eight years, I developed contacts with numerous Afghans who are now friends and supporters of my work. Many have warmly welcomed me into their homes and into their hearts. These friendships have also deepened my understanding and appreciation of this unique country and the struggles of its citizens who have suffered the hard consequences of years of war and deprivation. These are the people in my photographs. All of them (mostly women) are extraordinarily hardworking and devoted to the daily survival of the elderly and disabled. As I have come to know them, one stands out; Fatima Akbari. Fatima is committed to bettering the lives of widows and disabled victims of Afghanistan’s wars, and has created women’s businesses and literacy classes in Taliban-controlled areas of the country. Her projects are funded by Care International, B Peace, and recently she won the “Vital Voices 10,000 Women Entrepreneurial Achievement Award.” During my past three trips, Fatima helped me gain access to those she helps; I was able to enter their homes and win their trust.
A documentary photographer has the opportunity and the responsibility to effect change by illustrating various aspects of the human condition. The most desperate are often the most invisible. Through my photo essay, Forgotten Afghanistan, I hope to inform and educate my viewers about a segment of the Afghan population that rarely makes the news in the U.S. or Europe. I aim to illuminate the lives of these people by dispelling misinformation and the limited view we have of them.
It is my desire to return to Afghanistan this year to further assist Fatima and some of those like her by documenting in depth their important work and day to day lives. My wish is to travel to Afghanistan to deepen these efforts and contacts. If this leads to further understanding and a call to the aid of the Afghan people, then I have completed my mission.