Afghanistan: The Secret School for Girls
Since the Taliban retook power in Afghanistan in August 2021, girls have again been banned from attending secondary schools. This is part of a policy to deprive women and girls of basic rights. As a result, more than one million girls are being denied the chance of an education, while the risk of exploitation, abuse, and early marriage increases. And this is happening despite the fact that children in Afghanistan are already threatened by hunger, poverty and disease, and a total of 13 million boys and girls are in need of humanitarian aid.
But solidarity with the girls still exists, even if it has to remain hidden. For example, in the secret school that photographer Daniel Pilar has portrayed in his photo series. He discovered it in a makeshift building on the outskirts of Kabul, hidden in a backyard. Here, a young and courageous teacher also teaches 7th and 8th grade girls. Their hunger for education is stronger than any ban. Just like the brave teacher, however, parents who send their daughters to such schools must ensure that they remain anonymous.
Photographer: Daniel Pilar, Deutschland (Agentur laif) for FAZ
Daniel Pilar, born in Germany in 1976 to Czech parents, graduated from the University of Applied Sciences and Arts in Hanover with a degree in Communication Design, specializing in photojournalism; he was a staff photographer for the FAZ for three years from 2006; since then, he has been working as a freelancer. His book publications include ‘Afghanistan Endless’, published in 2019, the result of nine trips he made to the country between 2007 and 2014.