Fraidoon Poya will document the increasing number of women who commit suicide through self-immolation in Herat Province, Afghanistan. Poya will interview burn victims and their families in order to examine how cultural practices of marriage, tribal laws, gender norms and stereotypes, access to education, and economic status impact these women’s decisions. Poya’s goal is to allow women to tell their own stories so as to prompt much-needed dialogue and change around this issue.
Poya is currently a photographer and public information officer for the United Nation Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA). After participating in two photography training workshops organized by UNAMA in 2011 and 2012, Poya now conducts photojournalism workshops for university students. Poya worked as a reporter, photographer, and camera man for the Associated Press from 2006 until 2010 and for Agence France-Presse from 2004 to 2006. His work has been exhibited in Herat and Kabul through UNAMA’s support. Poya received his bachelor’s degree in Journalism from Herat University in 2006.