The Valley of Women

In 2003 the NGO EMERGENCY opened a Maternity Centre in Anabah, Panshir Valley Afganistan to provide antenatal, gynaecological, obstetric and neonatal care to the population of the Valley and the surrounding provinces. More than 300 babies are born every month at EMERGENCY’s Maternity Centre, which is the only specialised and free facility in the area. More than 35,000 babies were born in the Centre by June 2016. I was contacted as a photographer to document the hospital and especially the opening of the new maternity unit as they were dealing with around 500 births a month and the old one was too small . In Afghanistan Women don’t have legal identity. To enter the hospital they must have the permission of the husband or in case of his absence of a male member of the family: a brother or the older son. Yet the hospital is conceived as a safe area without the normal cultural restrictions present in the country, so burqa need to be left outside and no men are allowed in the maternity ward. Is not allowed to photograph Afghan women. It was a great honour for me to be accepted and to document the magic , the beauty and the fragility of the sacred mystery of birth and maternity.

In collaboration with Valeria Brigida

The Valley of Women, English Subtitles