What’s Unfair? UNICEF Afghanistan Photo Contest

On Universal Children’s Day, UNICEF Afghanistan launched a photo contest calling on photographers across the country to submit their best shot of what they think depicts ‘what’s unfair’ for the children of Afghanistan. We received hundreds of submissions and put the finalists up for a popular vote. Here are the winners!

A child studies with only a small glimmer of light piercing through an open round ceiling window in her house. Lack of access to electricity and poor living conditions in some areas of Afghanistan make it difficult for students to keep up with their studies, but they forge ahead. Bamyan province, central Afghanistan. © UNICEF Afghanistan/Hussaini

Photographer: Tahira Hussaini

“I feel that I can help the children of Afghanistan by reflecting their dreams and ambitions. I began to focus on children’s issues through painting, but eventually found my voice in photography. I want to establish a magazine for children and develop reading material with poems and short stories on interesting topics, to bring the culture of reading and studying among children.”

Ms. Hussaini was born in Bamyan province, Afghanistan. She studied photography at the Center for Contemporary Arts Afghanistan in 2010, and currently works as a photojournalist and reporter with Afghanistan Today.


Children weave blankets to support their families. Darul Aman, Kabul. © UNICEF Afghanistan/Hazara

Photographer: Mahbooba Hazara

“What motivates me in my photography is to get the voice of my people heard by the world. I feel a special responsibility to illustrate the situation of children in Afghanistan through my photos. In doing so, I believe and hope that I’ve done something for the betterment of their lives.”

Ms. Hazara is a third year photography student at Kabul University’s Faculty of Fine Arts. Her work focuses on capturing the daily lives of children, women, and street life in Afghanistan, as well as landscapes and portraits. Ms. Hazara was born in Tehran, Iran, and currently works as a freelance photographer in Kabul. Her photographs have been featured in various exhibitions in the city.

Children play football in front of the ruins of the Darul Aman Palace, Kabul. The palace was the scene of heavy fighting between rival factions in recent decades. Children should grow up in a world free from violence and conflict. © UNICEF Afghanistan/Turkmani

Photographer: Naseer Turkmani

“Art is a world of honesty, feelings, and love. Capturing the lives of children and the issues they face is an inherent part of my work.”

Naseer Turkmani was born in Parwan province, Afghanistan. He began studying photography in 2004 and was listed among the top ten young contemporary artists in the Afghan Contemporary Art Prize (2013). His work has been exhibited in Canada, Europe, Pakistan, and the USA. He currently works as a freelance photographer and visual artist in Kabul.


All children deserve the chance to be happy and healthy, explore their world safely, and reach their full potential. Giving a fair chance in life to every child, everywhere, offers the greatest hope of breaking cycles of inequity and poverty.

Yet, unfairness is omnipresent: inequities in societies begin shaping the life chances of too many children even before they are born. Too often, discrimination and disadvantage based on gender, social and economic status, or simply where someone is born, determine whether children will survive and thrive.

Click here to see the all the selected finalists