Elham is the child of a first-cousin marriage, who was conceived without any genetic consultation. From the age of three, she suffers from cataracts and corneal dystrophy, she underwent three unsuccessful surgeries on her left eye and still needs special care. Vision is one of the most important cognitive tools that humans have and despite her handicap, she often expresses her perceptions through visual language. A significant percentage of the causes of blindness or purblindness is hereditary and can be prevented by avoiding consanguine marriages that are common in Iran. A recent study on more than 300 thousand couples of different ethnicities, revealed that about 38% of marriages are between blood relations. Many children become direct victims caused by traditional beliefs and outdated ideologies. They are the victims that cannot speak out!


Elham plays on the roof of the family home while her mother combs the wool that has being washed and dried.


The rooftop of the family home overlooking the city of Tabriz


Despite her handicap caused by cataracts and corneal dystrophy, Elham often expresses her perceptions through visual language.


Elham standing in the living room of her grandmother’s home, watches the preparations for Dua Tawassul, a prayer that Shia muslims recite together on Wednesday eve. Du’a or supplication, literally means invocation; according to it, the servants of Allah request or call out Allah for their material and spiritual demands.


Notwithstanding a life filled with challenges, Elham overcomes adversity with an incredible resilience. Before going to bed she always makes her favourite doll wear her glasses.


Elham on a cold and snowy day looks through the window of her father’s tailor shop. After the first surgery on her left eye, she is treated for amblyopia forcing the weaker eye to work by blocking the favored eye with an eye patch.


Elham and her cousin Farshid imitate CatDog, one of their favourite cartoons that tells the story of conjoined siblings _ one a dog, the other a cat – dealing with their unique challenges of their existence.


Elham is ready for Jashn-e taklif, a big ceremony held in her school for 9 year old students who reached the puberty age and must obey religious orders and obligations and conform to Islamic rules.


Elham joyfully playing in her living room.


After three unsuccessful operations, Elham lost the vision on her left eye but she is hopeful that science will soon find a solution for her eye.