Kiana Hayeri

Single Mothers of Afghanistan

Project Description

There is no word for “single mother” in Pashto or Dari, the two major languages spoken throughout Afghanistan, yet after four decades of conflict – from the Soviet invasion to the war on terror – millions of women in Afghanistan are raising children on their own. These women are one of Afghanistan’s most vulnerable populations. Some have had to flee abusive spouses, others have lost their husbands in combat or terrorist attacks and some became pregnant before marriage and have been charged with “moral crimes”. Widows in particular are seen as morally suspect or symbols of bad luck; In a country where few women are literate or have ever worked outside the home, many widows are forced into remarriage, frequently to a brother of their late husband, and those who choose to remarry outside the family risk losing custody of their children.

This is the tale of the single mothers of Afghanistan told through photographs, a humane story picturing another side of life in a war-torn country.


Kiana Hayeri grew up in Tehran, Iran, and migrated to Toronto while she was still a teenager. Faced with the challenges of adapting to a new environment, she took up photography as a way of bridging the gap in language and culture. After an incident in her personal life, while still at university, she packed her life in a backpack and started a nomadic existence in search of a place that could be called home. She has worked internationally but remained focused on stories that illuminate her background. Her self-initiated and self-funded projects often explore complex topics such as migration, adolescence and sexuality. She is currently working on a long-term multi-phase project documenting the lives of youth and their culture in societies dealing with oppression or conflict.

She is currently based out of Kabul, Afghanistan, covering the region.

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Posted by Thaddeus Pope

Thaddeus Pope is the Director of Visual Communications for The International Academic Forum (IAFOR) and the Creative Director of the IAFOR Documentary Photography Award.


  1. […] Kiana Hayeri primește acest IAFOR Documentary Photography Award, bine meritat, pentru proiectul său ”Single Mothers of Afghanistan”, care se concentrează pe mamele singure din Afganistan, povestite prin fotografii, o poveste umană reprezentând o altă parte a vieții într-o țară sfâșiată de război. […]

  2. […] fotoğrafları, kendisine Uluslararası Akademik Forum’un bu yılın başlarında belgesel fotoğraf alanında büyük ödülü kazandı . Ancak, yalnız annelerin çoğunun yayınlanmış fotoğraflarını henüz görmediklerini […]

  3. […] in recognition of her outstanding work. She receives this well-deserved award for her project Single Mothers of Afghanistan, which focuses on the single mothers of Afghanistan told through photographs, a humane story […]

  4. […] Image by Kiana Hayeri | 2017 Grand Prize Winner […]

  5. […] Image from the series "Single Mothers of Afghanistan" by Kiana Hayeri, 2017 Grand Prize Winner […]

  6. […] Image by Kiana Hayeri | 2017 Grand Prize Winner […]

  7. […] Image by Kiana Hayeri | 2017 Grand Prize Winner […]

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