A new crop of young film-makers from Afghanistan are on a mission to promote the rights of children

“I want to do something like this for our children back home,” says Paeman Arianfar, Afghani actor and director who is known for his role in the Afghani television serial, ‘Salam’. He has also made a film titled, ‘Basket’, which is about an Afghan boy who sells fruit and chocolates to supplement his income even as supporting his family financially.

With an expensive DSLR (Digital Single Lens Reflex) camera in hand, a foreign degree in Media Production and dressed impeccably in a suit, it comes as a surprise that Jawad Wahabzada had to work long hours in a rug factory when he was just seven to support his family.

His documentary ‘Children of Kabul’ illustrates the plight of Afghan children, especially the war orphans, who were forced to work to make both ends meet, and how, as breadwinners, they were not able to attend school. He has been in the United States for 11 years and continues to visit his family in Afghanistan.

“I love it here. This is my second visit to India, but my first to Hyderabad. I have had the Biryani and visited the Charminar among other places in Old City, thereby completing my checklist,” he laughs. The other Afghan films participating in the fest are ‘Uncrowded’ and ‘Buzkashi Boys’, the latter nominated for Academy Award for the best live action short film. Speaking to The Hindu, Zarlasht Sarmast, who works for the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), said she had watched six films till now and loves the exposure she was getting. She added that a visit to Old City made her realise its wonderful architecture. Having already visited Delhi and Kolkata, this is her first visit to Hyderabad, she says in flawless Hindi.

The youth rights activist, who was named ‘Afghanistan’s Youth Peace Ambassador’ by the Afghan National Jirga, works with the production team of ‘CSI: Crime Scenes in Afghanistan’. The programme, funded by the UNAMA, promotes human rights and the rights of children.

“I hope I can replicate this back home. There are people who encourage women to go out and make a difference in society, usher in change, but we also have people who have a conservative view of the role of women. I hope in the coming days this changes,” she says with a smile.

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