Akram Kahn's story
My name is Akram. I am 13. My father’s name is Salamkhan. My father is from Jalalabad and my mother is from Karabakh. There are nine of us in the family, one sister and five brothers, my father and my mother. I lost my both of my hands in Pakistan. I went to Pakistan during civil war. My family was not well off and it was hard to live in Afghanistan during winter so we moved to Pakistan. Because we are poor we needed to collect wood for winter and once when I was collecting wood, there was a cable under woods, I did not notice it and when I touched it shocked me. When I was shocked by electricity, I was thrown 20 or 25 meters away. There was an old restaurant there and some guy had come to eat lunch there and finally he saw me and took me and put me in the car and took me to the hospital. The hospital would not accept me because I was afghan. The guy had an ID and he was helping to put me in the hospital with his ID. After a month, when I woke up and when I saw my hands were cut I was crying, my family was crying. There was no chance, there was only hope and I could not do anything. After three months my family and I returned back to Kabul. Seven years ago I returned from Pakistan and I am living in an IDP camp in front of Dalaman. My job is to collect money, be a beggar, asking money from people. I am responsible for the nine members of the family and I am going to collect money by begging for money and go back and help the family. And my father is little bit crazy and he can not work and only I am responsible to go and collect money and help my members of family. I am the eldest son of Salam Khan. I really like to study and I also like to play computer games, play on the cellphone, like to ply football and other things.
For seven years I have not received any support from the government. My name is Alareza and I am Akram’s uncle’s son. I am 11 years old. Akram has a lot of problems because he lost his cat and he can not play, go to work, he’s very sad. There are a lot of tents in front of me. There are a lot of kids playing. They are in very bad condition. Akram is living under the tent. There is a pace 100x200m place, different families put a tent and there is no place for kids to play, there are no schools, there is no water, conditions are very bad. - Taliban will come and the war will start and no one will help us. One of his brothers’ name is Ikramila his sister’s name is Simogol, his father’s name is Salamkhan, other bother’s name is Bilal, another brother’s name is Didar, another brother’s name is Satar, little brother’s name Ghafar, mother’s name is Zarmina.
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My name is Fardin Waezi and I was born in Kart-e-Now in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan. Although I am only young, I have been taking photographs for 22 years. I took my first photo with an old snapshot camera when I was seven years old in my father’s commercial portrait studio. I knew then I wanted to become a photographer because I adored my father’s profession.
There were no photo schools or colleges so over several years, with a little help from my father, I taught myself photojournalism. During the Taliban regime, a dark and stressful period for anybody trying to work as a photographer, I worked on the street outside the Ministry of the Interior making official portraits using a wooden box camera. These ID card pictures were almost the only photography that the Taliban allowed. Even then I was sometimes beaten and arrested.
I was in Kabul during the American bombing, but soon after the Taliban’s collapse in 2001, I was one of the first in the queue when I heard there would be a photojournalism course offered at 'AINA,' the Afghan Media and Culture Center.
Today, I am working in AINA This is a rare privilege that allows me to travel far and wide around the country and gain a unique overview of the economic, political and social changes in Afghanistan. Whilst it is true that my country is a place of war and terrorism, and this is what the foreign press always concentrate on when they photograph Afghanistan; it is also a place where 30 million people like me live their lives, bring up their families and have hopes and dreams.
I want the world to know my country is more than bombings and burqas.