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    This Is What Afghanistan's Youth Is Really Like

    Photographer Ruvan Wijesooriya gave the students of Mir Bacha Kot, Afghanistan, disposable cameras to photograph the world around them. The results are as beautiful as they are eye-opening.

    Photographer Ruvan Wijesooriya traveled to the Roots of Peace School in the village of Mir Bacha Kot, Afghanistan, and gave the students several disposable cameras to photograph their unique perspective of the world around them.

    The Roots of Peace School was built in 2006 after the infrastructure of Mir Bacha Kot was destroyed during the war. It was a project developed by the Roots of Peace organization, which de-mined the land of explosive ordnance and eventually helped the locals to make that land farmable.

    Ruvan Wijesooriya

    Ruvan tells BuzzFeed about these beautiful and enlightening pictures:

    "One of my goals was to make pictures for the kids themselves to keep. I wanted them to capture their hope, their joy, and that energy that children only have."

    Ruvan Wijesooriya

    "It was important for me to focus on our similarities and show progress and hope in the face of negativity and division."

    Ruvan Wijesooriya

    "I was looking to get past the suffering and hardship by using the photo shoot to bring a new experience into the lives of these kids."

    Ruvan Wijesooriya
    Ruvan Wijesooriya

    "To involve the subject and attempt a real connection."

    Ruvan Wijesooriya
    Ruvan Wijesooriya

    "Giving people disposable cameras to see what they come back with is not terribly original, but it acted like a 'yearbook class' for the students."

    Ruvan Wijesooriya

    "Their choice subject was very much school life: the classroom, playtime, and then little bits and pieces from the outside."

    Ruvan Wijesooriya
    Ruvan Wijesooriya

    "Most visuals coming from Afghanistan at the time were politically embedded, digitally dramatic, and generally showcased the horrors of war...it was all very 'us over here and them over there.'"

    Ruvan Wijesooriya

    "At some point I realized that it would benefit others to see their perspective, not just the kids in the photos."

    Ruvan Wijesooriya
    Ruvan Wijesooriya

    "There is a wealth of visual data in these photographs: You'll notice that there's no females in the older grades, some students are wearing brand logos in a school with no running water, and none of the kids are seen wearing glasses."

    Ruvan Wijesooriya

    "For many, it was their first time having a proper portrait taken of them; definitely their school portrait. Giving the kids pictures of themselves felt powerful far beyond me."

    Ruvan Wijesooriya
    Ruvan Wijesooriya

    "And the kids had such an enthusiasm for being in school … it represented hope for them, a way out, and the possibility to help their fellow citizens after they finished studying."

    Ruvan Wijesooriya

    "I was most surprised by how positive the kids were. The faces of these children were stunning and fascinating, beautiful and somehow unpredictable."

    Ruvan Wijesooriya

    To learn more about Ruvan Wijesooriya's project "Yearbook: Afghanistan", check out the website at www.yearbookafghanistan.com.

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