Reference : V-P-AF-E-01506
Date : 03/2009
Country/Region : AFGHANISTAN
Caption : Kabul. Afghan Red Crescent marastoon or "house of refuge".
Photographer : NACHTWEY, James
Confidentiality level : public
Publication restrictions : reserved users only
Copyright : ICRC/VII
Description : In the 1930s, marastoons – a Pashto word meaning “home for the destitute” – were set up by the Afghan government in the cities of Herat, Jalalabad, Mazar-i-Sharif, Kandahar and Kabul. The Afghan Red Crescent Society (ARCS) took them over in 1964 and, 30 years later, as civil war ravaged the Afghan capital, the ICRC stepped in to evacuate the marastoon’s inmates as the frontlines began to encroach on their compound and rockets rained down. The ICRC continued its support for the next decade.

Intended primarily as shelters for the homeless, the marastoons are also refuges for social outcasts and the mentally ill. Despite their regional differences, each one has a common goal: to give the children who live there an education, and the adults a trade, so as to ease their integration back into society when their time comes to leave after a maximum of two years.

Decades of occupation and civil war in Afghanistan have left tens of thousands of physically and mentally disabled people bearing the scars.
Original material : negative
Resolution : 4898x3355
Orientation : landscape
Colour/B&W : black and white