Daniel Pilar, Deutschland

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.

Afghanistan: The Secret School for Girls
Bild 1 von 10 © Daniel Pilar, Germany, FAZ, Agency laif
Afghanistan: The Secret School for Girls
Bild 2 von 10 © Daniel Pilar, Germany, FAZ, Agency laif
Afghanistan: The Secret School for Girls
Bild 3 von 10 © Daniel Pilar, Germany, FAZ, Agency laif
Afghanistan: The Secret School for Girls
Bild 4 von 10 © Daniel Pilar, Germany, FAZ, Agency laif
Afghanistan: The Secret School for Girls
Bild 5 von 10 © Daniel Pilar, Germany, FAZ, Agency laif
Afghanistan: The Secret School for Girls
Bild 6 von 10 © Daniel Pilar, Germany, FAZ, Agency laif
Afghanistan: The Secret School for Girls
Bild 7 von 10 © Daniel Pilar, Germany, FAZ, Agency laif
Afghanistan: The Secret School for Girls
Bild 8 von 10 © Daniel Pilar, Germany, FAZ, Agency laif
Afghanistan: The Secret School for Girls
Bild 9 von 10 © Daniel Pilar, Germany, FAZ, Agency laif
Afghanistan: The Secret School for Girls
Bild 10 von 10 © Daniel Pilar, Germany, FAZ, Agency laif

 

Photographer: Daniel Pilar, Deutschland (Agentur laif) for FAZ

Portrait: Daniel Pilar
© Daniel Pilar

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.

1st Prize: Eduardo Soteras
Taking Refuge in Books. Argentinian photographer Eduardo Soteras has been documenting the situation of children in Tigray since 2020. Although destroyed, an elementary school library in Ethiopia’s Tigray region is where two children have taken refuge in books.
2nd Prize: Ron Haviv
I Once Had a Home is the title of a photo series by US photographer Ron Haviv, taken in Ukraine. His pictures show people who have to flee and bid their homes and friends farewell. And they show basements and metro stations where children are born. Where they play and learn.
Honorable Mentions
In addition to the winning photo series, the independent jury also awarded nine honorable mentions. The stories show children from many different countries all over the world.