Thumb sm
Fashion Week in Kyrgyzstan (3 of 13)
Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
By Nargiza Ryskulova
05 Apr 2013

Recently in Kyrgyzstan, there is a rise of interest in Islamic Fashion; more and more brands are selling Islamic-oriented clothing.

Thumb sm
Fashion Week in Kyrgyzstan (2 of 13)
Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
By Nargiza Ryskulova
05 Apr 2013

Masters of local hand-craft often use felt to create clothing

Thumb sm
Fashion Week in Kyrgyzstan (14 of 23)
Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
By Nargiza Ryskulova
05 Apr 2013

Designers are using non-traditional techniques on the runway, moving away from the fashion runway norms, such as barefoot models.

Thumb sm
Fashion Week in Kyrgyzstan (5 of 13)
Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
By Nargiza Ryskulova
05 Apr 2013

Galina Boiko presented a collection "Art inside you" deidicated to young intellectuals living in big cities.

Thumb sm
Fashion Week in Kyrgyzstan (6 of 13)
Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
By Nargiza Ryskulova
05 Apr 2013

"Fashion for men has to be smart," said designer Galina Boiko.

Thumb sm
Fashion Week in Kyrgyzstan (7 of 13)
Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
By Nargiza Ryskulova
05 Apr 2013

"Black Swan" is designed especially for women who are not afraid to express and portray their femininity

Thumb sm
Fashion Week in Kyrgyzstan (9 of 13)
Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
By Nargiza Ryskulova
05 Apr 2013

This avant-garde collection is called "True Iron." Most of the elements used are made out of various metals.

Thumb sm
Musharraf returns to Pakistan from se...
Karachi, Pakistan
By Syed Yasir Iqbal Kazmi
24 Mar 2013

Pakistan's former military ruler Pervez Musharraf returned home on Sunday after more than four years in exile. He addresses workers of his APML party at the airport
Photo by Yasir Kazmi, Karachi, Pakistan

Thumb sm
Musharraf returns to Pakistan from se...
Karachi, Pakistan
By Syed Yasir Iqbal Kazmi
24 Mar 2013

Pakistan's former military ruler Pervez Musharraf returned home on Sunday after more than four years in exile. He addresses workers of his APML party at the airport
Photo by Yasir Kazmi, Karachi, Pakistan

Thumb sm
Musharraf returns to Pakistan from se...
Karachi, Pakistan
By Syed Yasir Iqbal Kazmi
24 Mar 2013

Pakistan's former military ruler Pervez Musharraf returned home on Sunday after more than four years in exile. He addresses workers of his APML party at the airport
Photo by Yasir Kazmi, Karachi, Pakistan

Thumb sm
Musharraf returns to Pakistan from se...
Karachi, Pakistan
By Syed Yasir Iqbal Kazmi
24 Mar 2013

Pakistan's former military ruler Pervez Musharraf returned home on Sunday after more than four years in exile. He addresses workers of his APML party at the airport
Photo by Yasir Kazmi, Karachi, Pakistan

Thumb sm
Musharraf returns to Pakistan from se...
Karachi, Pakistan
By Syed Yasir Iqbal Kazmi
24 Mar 2013

Pakistan's former military ruler Pervez Musharraf returned home on Sunday after more than four years in exile. He addresses workers of his APML party at the airport
Photo by Yasir Kazmi, Karachi, Pakistan

Thumb sm
Musharraf Returns To Pakistan After E...
Karachi, Pakistan
By U.S. Editor
23 Mar 2013

Pakistan's former military ruler Pervez Musharraf returned home on Sunday after more than four years in self-imposed exile. He addresses workers of his APML party at the airport
Photo by Yasir Kazmi, Karachi, Pakistan

Thumb sm
Pakistan Republic Day
Karachi, Pakistan
By U.S. Editor
23 Mar 2013

The guard changing ceremony was performed at the mausoleum and the officials laid wreaths on Jinnah’s grave. Representatives of all three armed forces and a large number of citizens were also present at the mausoleum, March 23, 2013
Photo by Yasir Kazmi, Karachi, Pakistan

Thumb sm
Nation Celebrates Pakistan Republic D...
Karachi, Pakistan
By Syed Yasir Iqbal Kazmi
23 Mar 2013

The guard changing ceremony was performed at the mausoleum and the officials laid wreaths on Jinnah’s grave. Representatives of all three armed forces and a large number of citizens were also present at the mausoleum, March 23, 2013
Photo by Yasir Kazmi, Karachi, Pakistan

Thumb sm
Nation Celebrates Pakistan Republic D...
Karachi, Pakistan
By Syed Yasir Iqbal Kazmi
23 Mar 2013

The guard changing ceremony was performed at the mausoleum and the officials laid wreaths on Jinnah’s grave. Representatives of all three armed forces and a large number of citizens were also present at the mausoleum, March 23, 2013
Photo by Yasir Kazmi, Karachi, Pakistan

Thumb sm
Nation Celebrates Pakistan Republic D...
Karachi, Pakistan
By Syed Yasir Iqbal Kazmi
23 Mar 2013

The guard changing ceremony was performed at the mausoleum and the officials laid wreaths on Jinnah’s grave. Representatives of all three armed forces and a large number of citizens were also present at the mausoleum, March 23, 2013
Photo by Yasir Kazmi, Karachi, Pakistan

Thumb sm
Nation Celebrates Pakistan Republic D...
Karachi, Pakistan
By Syed Yasir Iqbal Kazmi
23 Mar 2013

The guard changing ceremony was performed at the mausoleum and the officials laid wreaths on Jinnah’s grave. Representatives of all three armed forces and a large number of citizens were also present at the mausoleum, March 23, 2013
Photo by Yasir Kazmi, Karachi, Pakistan

Thumb sm
Nation Celebrates Pakistan Republic D...
Karachi, Pakistan
By Syed Yasir Iqbal Kazmi
23 Mar 2013

The guard changing ceremony was performed at the mausoleum and the officials laid wreaths on Jinnah’s grave. Representatives of all three armed forces and a large number of citizens were also present at the mausoleum, March 23, 2013
Photo by Yasir Kazmi, Karachi, Pakistan

Thumb sm
Nation Celebrates Pakistan Republic D...
Karachi, Pakistan
By Syed Yasir Iqbal Kazmi
23 Mar 2013

The guard changing ceremony was performed at the mausoleum and the officials laid wreaths on Jinnah’s grave. Representatives of all three armed forces and a large number of citizens were also present at the mausoleum, March 23, 2013
Photo by Yasir Kazmi, Karachi, Pakistan

Thumb sm
Nation Celebrates Pakistan Republic D...
Karachi, Pakistan
By Syed Yasir Iqbal Kazmi
23 Mar 2013

The guard changing ceremony was performed at the mausoleum and the officials laid wreaths on Jinnah’s grave. Representatives of all three armed forces and a large number of citizens were also present at the mausoleum, March 23, 2013
Photo by Yasir Kazmi, Karachi, Pakistan

Thumb sm
Nation Celebrates Pakistan Republic D...
Karachi,Pakistan
By Syed Yasir Iqbal Kazmi
23 Mar 2013

The guard changing ceremony was performed at the mausoleum and the officials laid wreaths on Jinnah’s grave. Representatives of all three armed forces and a large number of citizens were also present at the mausoleum, March 23, 2013
Photo by Yasir Kazmi, Karachi, Pakistan.

Frame 0004
Tens of thousands of children studyin...
Pakistan Administered Kashmir (PAK)
By objectivereporter
03 Mar 2013

Around 2, 800 schools were decimated by an earthquake that hit a large part of northern Pakistan in 2005. The government failed to reconstruct those schools even after 8 years, risking the lives of thousands of children who are forced to take lessons under the open sky in harsh winter and scorching summer. The government claims that it faces a paucity of funds to rebuild decimated schools while on the other hand, critics of government say most funds provided by the international community for rehabilitation have been directed to other projects. Officials say around 200,000 children in areas located above 5000 feet high altitude are compelled to continue study either in wall-less, roofless shelters or worn-out tents. Government claims that 1,100 schools out of total 2, 800 have so far been built while construction work 900 schools has been suspended due to want of funds. The construction work on 700 schools yet to be started. Due to non-availability of funds number of drop out of children have been increased as parents are reluctant to send their children to such schools due to health hazards.
The October 8, 2005 earthquake, which originated in the Himalayan mountains of Pakistan was the worst disaster in the history of the country; it left more than 70,000 dead, injured twice that number, left up to 1 million homeless and 1 million in immediate need of assistance.
The Government of Pakistan estimated that 17,000 children died, 23,000 children suffered disabilities and long-term injuries while more than 39,000 children lost one parent and 1,700 lost both parents. Thousands more were left homeless and vulnerable. Most of children died when they were in schools when earthquake struck the area razing sub-standard constructed schools buildings to ground and burying thousands of children alive

Thumb sm
Hope for a Cherry Blossom
Bulgaria
By Transterra Editor
28 Feb 2013

Hope for a Cherry Blossom is a documentary photo-project, focused on a Roma woman, Vishna (Cherry in Bulgarian), a resident of Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria. The project was continued throughout spring 2013. The project illustrated her daily life, work, house chores, family dynamics and everyday life in Roma community. The goal of the project was to explore life of the Roma through the story of Vishna, a mother of twelve children, who recently lost her husband to alcoholism. The question I raised was the difficulties of being a minority member and a single mother. The project aimed to bring understanding of problems an unprivileged minority group faces in Bulgaria.

I met Vishna, 42, in the church. It was a life changing encounter. What I remember from that day are her smile and hospitality (she invited me to her house), and I think these are one of her strongest character features.

Her home is a one-room shack on top of the mountain, home to the Roma community in Blagoevgrad. Just like most of the houses at the Roma district, Tsyganski makhala, as local people call it, there are no running water, no refrigerator and no place to cook at Vishna’s home, except the wood burning stove that keeps the family warm in winter. This doubles as Vishna’s cooking stove. To make it work, she collects or buys wood. The roof is damaged, it leaks when it rains.
It was raining on the day we met, so Vishna put some plates on the bed to prevent it from getting soaked. But she is used to this way of living. Vishna is not a Blagoevgrad native; she comes from Sandanski, where the Roma lifestyle differs from the one in Blagoevgrad. If in Blagoevgrad it is a rare case when Roma goes to school, in Sandanski the majority studies, only a few beg on the streets.

The same applies to Vishna’s nieces and nephews.

Vishna herself though never went to school, but her brothers did, for a while. Together with her siblings, she worked on a tobacco farm when she was a child.

Her three brothers served in the Bulgarian army and married at age 21, except her younger brother who married at 18. Vishna, however, married when she was only 13. She was kidnapped and brought to Blagoevgrad by her husband, Emil. Her parents were against, but she was already pregnant.

Today Vishna has twelve children and ten grandchildren. The oldest kid is Yuli, 27, he is married. Many years ago he moved to Gotse Delchev, where he works as a DJ. The youngest is Vasko, 3. In the beginning of 2013, Vishna learned that Vasko had leukemia. Vasko lived at the orphanage under medical control, but in May 2013 he got back home. Doctors explained to Vishna that Vasko got better and there is no need for him to keep the treatment. Her other son, Mitko, 5, is deaf. Two years ago, he had a surgery, but still he cannot hear well and therefore does not speak at all. Four other kids go to the boarding school where they stay on the weekdays. Some of the older children completed the elementary school. Now they are married and live in Blagoevgrad.

Since marrying, Vishna works as a street sweeper. Her monthly salary is around 300 BGN (200 USD). Unlike Vishna, her husband worked only one year in his life as security at a restaurant. Vishna never understood Blagoevgrad Roma, their segregated life and poor living conditions. She wanted to go back to Sandanski, but her husband kept pulling her back to Blagoevgrad.

Last several months were difficult for Vishna. She lost her husband to alcohol addiction. Soon she will get the probation from the court for her husband’s business (he used to send their kids to beg). Now Vishna’s children go to the boarding school. Her daughter Asya, 14, gave a birth to a child with mental problems. Even though Asya is married, Vishna is responsible for both of them.

Today, Vishna does not think of going back to Sandanski. She looks for opportunities in Blagoevgrad. She hopes of a better life for herself and her children. Even though Vishna struggles, she does not show her emotions and tries her best to support her family. Vishna dreams of a new house with all the necessities, getting her kids educated and having enough money to support them.

Written and photographed by Mayya Kelova

Thumb sm
Afghan child in Logar
Logar, Afghanistan
By johnjournalist
01 Feb 2013

An Afghan child in the troubled province of Logar

Thumb sm
PAKISTAN'S ENDANGERED MINORITY - Edit...
Chitral, Pakistan
By Editor's Picks
28 Jan 2013

NORTHWEST FRONTIER PROVINCE, Pakistan —

High in the Hindu Kush Mountains of Pakistan's Northwest Frontier Province in a barely accessible area, live the Kalash People, Pakistan’s last remaining non-Muslim tribe. The Kalasha live in small villages built into the sides of idyllic valleys with gurgling streams, wheat and cornfields and fruit trees. Wooden houses stacked one on top of another, climb up the sides of steep cliffs. Children play freely and attend co-ed schools, while parents harvest crops and till the land.
Though they once numbered in the tens of thousands, the Kalasha have seen their numbers dwindle over the past century. Most experts put the current Kalasha population between 3,000 and 4,000.
The polytheistic Kalasha — whose women wear vibrant-colored embroidered dresses and beaded headdresses called “susutr" — are viewed with both admiration and suspicion by the Islamic majority.
After tens of thousands of Kalasha people, also called Nuristanis, were forcibly converted to Islam during the last century, only a few thousand retain their ancestral religion and traditions.
Wynn Maggi, anthropologist and author of "Our Women Are Free," says they were "brutally and forcibly converted to Islam, horribly persecuted, put in jail ... the Kalasha suffered a lot in their history.” Kalasha women were sometimes abducted and forced to marry Muslim men. Stories circulated of Kalasha men being forcibly circumcised.
With their light coloring — some even have blue eyes — the Kalasha are rumored to be the descendants of Alexander the Great’s army, which conquered the Hindu Kush along with “the known world” in the 4th century B.C. In Kalasha oral history, the people are the children of "Salaxi," their name for Alexander.
Most scientists and anthropologists dispute the legend: No genetic ties between Kalasha and Greeks have been discovered, and scientists believe the Kalasha are Indo-Aryans whose religion has some commonalities with pre-Zorastrian Iranians.
But regardless, the legend once lured busloads of Greek tourists to the valleys, seeking a link to their ancestral past.
“The tourists would always bring Greek coins and small perfume bottles with a portrait of Alexander the Great. Greek filmmakers have come to film the Kalasha. Some Greeks even brought Kalashas back to Greece to dance,” Maggi explained. Hellenic Aid has funded several projects in the Kalash Valleys, including the construction of two magnificent, wood-hewn Kalasha schools and several bashalis, women’s menstrual homes. "Their culture is a treasure belonging not only to Pakistan but to the whole world," said Athanasios Lerounis, a Greek teacher and activist who in 2009 was kidnapped and kept hostage for eight months—presumably by Islamic militants who disapproved of his work. There are just a few thousand Kalasha living “among a sea of Muslims,” he said — more than half of the remaining Kalasha have converted to Islam.

"We are here to support these cultural islands." Kalasha culture is threatened over pressure to convert to Islam. The pressure to convert to Islam comes in various forms. Some Kalasha convert for love or in hopes of bettering themselves, while others bow to peer pressure in the government-run schools, where students mix with Islamic students, and curriculum includes Koranic study. Recently, Kalasha girls began covering their hand-beaded headdresses with gauzy veils.
Since Kalasha has religion is its center, “Kalasha people see [Islam as a] threat — once you convert you are not 'Kalasha' and you can never be again," Maggi explained.
In the center of the Bumburet Valley, home to the largest Kalasha community, a mosque serves the area's Muslims, and the call to prayer permeates the village five times a day.
On the surface, it appears that Muslims and Kalasha coexist peacefully. Many are related — some converted, some not.
But incidents of ethnic hatred occasionally bubble to the surface. A wooden alter had it’s horse motif’s “decapitated” explained Akram Hussain, a Kalasha teacher at the Kaladasur School.
"This altar ... is sacred and historic," Nearby, a madrassa was built next to the Kalasha's sacred dancing ground. 
"Why couldn't they have put it any other place?" asked Hussain. Disrespect toward Kalasha religion is not new. Maggi said that a decade ago, “Kalasha gravestones were constantly being desecrated. Punjabi kids would pose and take photographs with the bones of Kalasha ancestors.”
Kalasha leaders can’t help but think that local Muslims damaged their sacred altar, despite protests by the town’s only imam.
“I worry because the tide is turning in Northern Pakistan due to the rise of fundamentalism. If fundamentalism spreads, the Kalasha will be easily targeted and could be wiped out or weakened," Maggi said. “The ironic and sad element is that the situation is destabilizing and escalating," said scholar Saima Saiddiqui. "If the situation remains the same, Kalasha will also suffer and what will be the outcome for the people already few in number?”

-Jodi Hilton

Thumb sm
MINORITIES IN GEORGIA - Editor's Pick...
Georgia
By Editor's Picks
23 Oct 2012

Many Georgian civilians were deported or fled their homes during the past century's conflicts and found refuge in other parts of the country or neighboring Central Asian countries. While some managed to start a new life, the majority of internally displaced people still struggle with housing and unemployment issues. In Tbilisi and other regions of Georgia, thousands of displaced families are claiming ownership rights to buildings they have occupied since the conflicts. In other cases families are returning to villages from where their parents were deported decades ago and face integrating into new communities.

Roma are one of the most stigmatized minorities of Georgia, associated with street vendors, beggars and in many cases thought of as thieves and swindlers.

Villagers cut meat for the Eid al Adha festival near the mosque in Talaveri village, populated mostly by ethnic Azerbaijanis.

Thumb sm
Sarabdek 04
Pamir Mountains
By karolinasamborska
03 Oct 2012

Sarabdek with his youngest daughter (in a middle) and his daughter in law (at the left).

Thumb sm
Sarabdek 05
Pamir Mountains
By karolinasamborska
02 Oct 2012

Boy threshes grain with oxen. In the village as electricity is not reliable most of the work is done manually or with the help of animals.

Thumb sm
Sarabdek 06
Pamir Mountains
By karolinasamborska
02 Oct 2012

Somersault on a haystack of threshed grain.

Thumb sm
Sarabdek 10
Pamir Mountains
By karolinasamborska
01 Oct 2012

Physical education classes. In the village there are two schools, primary and secondary. There are 180 students.

Thumb sm
Protest In Azerbaijan During Eurovisi...
Baku, Azerbaijan
By U.S. Editor
20 May 2012

The 2012 Eurovision Song Contest was held in Azerbaijan. Often called the land of fire, it put on a massive and spectacular show, however the festivities were tainted by the country's poor human rights record and its harsh crackdown on peaceful protesters.

The country’s opposition used the opportunity to draw attention to the state's undemocratic practices, despite the government’s attempts to present itself otherwise.

Peaceful protesters were arrested for participating in a rally on the lavish boulevard along Baku’s harbor front. Secret police walk among protesters and singled out those chanting slogans. Many were taken away in police cars or piled into buses and taken to a police station.

The protest was organized by critics of the current regime, and was held to capture the attention of foreign media.
 According to Amnesty International, protesters are often arrested, registered and jailed indefinitely. Organizing a protest is punishable by imprisonment, and the regime often charges citizens with hooliganism, or forcibly drafts them into the military if they suspected of activism. There are also reports of alleged torture of incarcerated people, and targeting of independent journalists.

Thumb sm
Azerbaijan demonstrations during Euro...
Baku, Azerbaijan
By Andreas bro
20 May 2012

During the Eurovision Song contest there were protests, most of them organized by the opposition. One man was arrested by undercover agents/police during a protest in front of the national TV station.
The agents would go through the crowd and arrest anybody who was not press or police. This man turned up with a few others and started to give a speech, within seconds he was detained and taken away. One other protester that was arrested had heard the man saying that he was a member of the government party.