For my personal project ‘Paradise Lost’, I have been photographing the Northwest of Pakistan since 2009, when conflict broke out and drove more than 3 million people from their home in Swat Valley. I found that when I visited this area, I would be drawn to the stories of children. In the refugee camps, volunteers travelled long and hard journeys to teach the children in tents, even though formal education had been disrupted.
Then when peace returned I visited Swat Valley, and discovered how even in the most rundown conditions, children still loved to go to school. Perhaps it’s the promise of finding playmates, or just to escape the daily drudgery of rural life. There will be no chairs, no tables, no air-conditioning, not even enough books and pencils to go around. But children will continue to look forward to a place called ‘school’.
(PRIVATE 56, p. 24-27)