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MIA MUHAMMAD  

Until recently Mia Muhammad worked on the outside of the Red Cross orthopedic centre in Kabul. Now he works on the inside. The move marks a shift in his circumstances from working as a kamra-e-faoree photographer, a profession he started about eleven years ago when he was twenty-two, to a cleaner, a job he came into only six months ago. The first visit Mia made to the Red Cross facility was for treatment after he lost a leg by stepping on a landmine. Jobless at the time, the centre's director suggested he learn how to use the kamra-e-faoree as patients needed photographs for the identity papers the centre issued (pictured below). So Mia got a loan, bought a camera, and started to take photographs on the side of the road outside of the centre. Business for years was good: there was a steady stream of patients coming for treatment every day and the job paid for his marriage and helped raise his four children. But gradually the materials for the camera became more difficult and expensive to obtain - "inflation", Mia explains - and so he stopped taking photographs. Without a kamra-e-faoree photographer, the centre started to use digital technology to photograph patients, but since Mia is illiterate he was excluded from the job as it requires reading instructions (in English) on cameras and computers. And so now, Mia is a cleaner for the Red Cross.

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....................................Mia's Red Cross identity paper.