Associated Press photographer Muhammed Muheisen, 33, has spent three years capturing the daily lives of impoverished Afghans who dwell in an enormous refugee camp in Pakistan. Through portraits of wide-eyed, dirt-poor Afghan children, Muheisen shows the worst civilian impact caused by decades of conflict.
“I wanted to show the outside world what I see every time I meet these children, their stunning eyes and their tough life standing together in front of my lens. I want these beautiful children to be remembered by their names not as displaced Afghan refugees,” Muheisen wrote via email.
Although the photos of the children, most of whom do not have access to schools, are heartbreaking, Muheisen also captured how truly resilient they are.
“For me all of the children in this series have a special place in my heart because through them I learned how to appreciate what I have. Seeing how they adapt with the minimum makes you feel lucky,” Muheisen wrote via email.
Muheisen’s portraits and more of his comments are presented below:
“I am always amazed how the Afghan refugee children enjoy their time with nothing. They create elaborate games with no money and they are so creative.”
“Simple things make them so happy, playing with anything that comes their way. They adapt with the minimum and they honestly look like the happiest children.”
“The hard life they live is so obvious to see in their faces. Their beauty is mixed with the rough life condition they endure everyday.”
“They are so young in age but, unlike most children they are old in experience and know how to persevere.”
“I don’t speak their language and they don’t speak mine but we have a mutual respect and trust which is built on positive energy and simple gestures that shows these children I am here as a friend.”
“You can imagine how much time and energy it took to gain their trust. Wars broke them and forced them to leave their families and homes looking for refuge.”
“Characteristic of their culture, the girls would always hide from me. They would observe and try to understand what I was doing.”
“Slowly they understood what I was trying to do and they approached me to have their pictures taken.”
“I wanted to show the outside world what I see every time I meet these children, their stunning eyes and their tough life standing together in front of my lens.”
“I want these beautiful children to be remembered by their names not as displaced Afghan refugees.”
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