Photographer Noroozi portrays child labor in Kabul


A nine-year-old boy works in one of the brick factories in the Kabul area.
Photo: Ebrahim Noroozi/AP

After the Taliban took power, the number of working children in Afghanistan increased dramatically. Iranian photographer Ebrahim Noroozi visited them in one of Kabul’s brick factories.

DThe return of the Taliban and the resulting economic crisis have plunged the Afghan population into deep poverty. According to estimates by the humanitarian organization Save the Children, almost half of all Afghan families are forced to send their children to work to earn money for food.

Working conditions in the brick factories in northern Kabul are harsh, even for adults. Nevertheless, many children, even younger than five, work there from the early morning, through the stifling heat of the day, until late at night. You will not be spared any of the work that a ball of clay requires to become a brick. Children carry the water containers, collect brushwood and lay it out to dry. They load wheelbarrows with dried bricks and take them to the kilns, then load the burnt bricks back onto their wheelbarrows. They sort the bricks and collect the used coal from the fireplaces to reuse later. Few of them have ever attended school. “There is no other way,” says Rahim, whose three children work with him at the factory: “How could they go to school if we don’t have enough bread to eat? Survival is more important.”

In his report, Ebrahim Noroozi focused on the working children. All the adults who also work in the factories seem to have disappeared. The depressing fate of Afghanistan’s children stares directly at us from his pictures.


Two boys and a girl work with clay and brick moulds.
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Photo: Ebrahim Noroozi/AP

Here, the clay is shaped into bricks with bare hands.


Here, the clay is shaped into bricks with bare hands.
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Photo: Ebrahim Noroozi/AP

Two small boys turn the bricks as they dry.


Two small boys turn the bricks as they dry.
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Photo: Ebrahim Noroozi/AP

A nine-year-old girl carries charcoal to burn the bricks.


A nine-year-old girl carries charcoal to burn the bricks.
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Photo: Ebrahim Noroozi/AP

Wet clay is pressed into the brick molds.


Wet clay is pressed into the brick molds.
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Picture: AP

A girl and a boy take care of the baked bricks.


A girl and a boy take care of the baked bricks.
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Photo: Ebrahim Noroozi/AP

Two boys collect the coal from the fireplaces.


Two boys collect the coal from the fireplaces.
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Photo: Ebrahim Noroozi/AP

Sand is shoveled into a wheelbarrow.  In the background you can see the smoking chimneys of the brickworks.


Sand is shoveled into a wheelbarrow. In the background you can see the smoking chimneys of the brickworks.
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Photo: Ebrahim Noroozi/AP

A group shot of the children with their tools in front of a stack of bricks.


A group shot of the children with their tools in front of a stack of bricks.
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Photo: Ebrahim Noroozi/AP

A boy flattens the fresh bricks.


A boy flattens the fresh bricks.
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Photo: Ebrahim Noroozi/AP

Portraits of a girl with a wheelbarrow to transport bricks.


Portraits of a girl with a wheelbarrow to transport bricks.
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Photo: Ebrahim Noroozi/AP

A four-year-old girl sleeps in front of a covered pile of clay.


A four-year-old girl sleeps in front of a covered pile of clay.
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Photo: Ebrahim Noroozi/AP

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