When Sara Barackzay first started to teach animation to girls in Afghanistan, she was openly mocked. “People say that girls shouldn’t do this kind of work,” she tells the Anadolu Agency, a Turkish news service. Then no one showed up. Then the power went out. Then parents stopped sending their daughters. Then there were threats.
Yet today she has more than 400 students. Ms. Barackzay has become known as Afghanistan’s first female animator, with dreams of someday moving on to Disney or Pixar. (See her work here.) But for now, she has stories to tell about Afghanistan – and not the stories the world often hears. “My country is full of kind people, amazing food, and an old culture, and that’s what I want to show to the world,” she tells The Guardian.
And there is her own story, which she hopes can be inspiration for others – doodling as a child, learning Turkish from watching “The Smurfs,” going to Istanbul for art school, then returning to Afghanistan to teach girls.
“Afghan women try so hard – maybe even harder than others – to reach their goals. It’s one of the messages I want to communicate through my art,” she says. “I always had big dreams, but fighting for them was never easy. Afghan women continue to face many limitations, and gaining my own freedom is possibly the biggest challenge I’ve faced – and it’s a struggle that continues.”