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Afghanistan’s Loud, Mute Voices

Afghan youth with hearing loss speak through art

Nashinavayan is a special school for deaf people in Afghanistan. It has 26 students, consisting of both boys and girls. Some have to travel a long way to get there, but they are determined to get an education and have a better life for themselves and their country.

Nashinavayan school students can’t speak or hear, but they don't see themselves as disabled. In fact, they try to lead lives as full as possible. In every lesson, the students think of ways to end poverty and make Afghanistan a successful and prosperous country. The school doesn’t have a building. Classes are held in the Ghor Province Martyrs and Disabled Affairs Department.

One of the students, Mohammad Amin, loves photography. “In my spare time, I take my camera and wander around historical sites and places of interest. That's where I take photos,” he says. Abdul Hadi Dendost is great with numbers and dreams of one day becoming an engineer. For now, he works as a carpenter, making cribs, chests and cabinets.

Mahtab is 16 years old, and she wants to be a doctor. “I think I'm a capable woman who could be a surgeon,” she says. Mahtab is also fond of drawing and, through her art, she wants to communicate to the world community the problems her country is facing. She is very capable and talented, and, according to her teacher Noor Ahmad, she has a great future ahead of her. Noor Ahmad has worked in regular schools before, but it is here that he finds the teaching particularly rewarding.

How do these courageous and talented young people survive and where do they find inspiration for their art?