One of the main reasons of starting this institute, by the founder and manager, was his concern about humanity. Abedin Mahdavi is an Iranian photo journalist and director, active in the field of human rights particularly children rights, war children and crisis children.

Abedin Mahdavi, leader and founder of Holy Children Institute, used to be considered crazy by the public because of his thoughts, ideas and activities. This crazy man spent two years of his youth with no salary in Afghanistan. He spent his little savings collecting children paintings, taking photos and filming them. People, who called him crazy and believed that he was wasting his time, were right. At that time, in the worst moments of war and kidnaps, the bad situation of health and treatment, shortage of safe water and food in Afghanistan, no journalist or photographer could survive without supports. Even the ones who were supported and paid could not stay there more than a month so he was definitely crazy!

However, as Abedin Mahdavi continued his activities in Pakistan, Iraq and African countries, his activities and he raised a question in minds of the ones who called him crazy during 2002 to 2004. Although he was not granted permission to continue his art in his own country, he preserved his efforts in art for humanity internationally. Today, the ones who called him crazy have joined the art group of Holy Children Institute and they are trying alongside with him to help war children all around the world.

Now they are: Volunteer Artists for Humanity!

Abedin Mahdavi is for sure one of international artists working for humanity and human rights but in near future, we might find him an international artistic activities theorist. Of course, due to lack of financial support on his group, Abedin Mahdavi and his group are unknown in many countries, but it will not take a long time that artists from all over the world join his group because of his deep beliefs and soon these beliefs will spread over the world.

“When you intend to work for humanity, you should wholly dedicate yourself. It means not to think of the result. It means not to think if anyone encourages you, or will I be awarded, or even if anyone would hand you a glass of water to save your life! You shouldn’t think of being beaten or insulted or imprisoned. You should always smile and keep your throat ready to shout! All these things might probably happen but you shouldn’t think of them! You should think about the world, you should think about the ground you are walking on. And in absolute calm, you should think about your future while a little child who has no idea about his or her future, on another side of this planet is having his future ended, being targeted by a soldier!

You should courageously use kindness and affection, and also meanings of the words love and friendship and pure human characteristics to stand against the muzzle of that soldier’s gun and smile to him. Maybe he has sunglasses as dark as all the darkness of the world; you should take them off to let the soldier see the child’s smile so when the soldier left army AWOL his first memory for his love would be the story of the child’s smile. On that day you have your award and you can drink your coffee in peace!”

After starting the international Holy Children Institute in 2001 and doing various artistic and cultural activities in many wars different countries he faced many obstacles working on his film projects. He usually has to produce his films using his own savings or donations and in worst situations of production. After a lot of arguments with the Iranian government in recent years and after prohibition on the production of his last film which had a humanitarian theme and it was about war children in Iraq, Abedin started his second artistic idea; Humanity Film Institute with an international viewpoint.

“It’s not only in my country that opposition and stopping from artistic and philanthropic activities on human rights happen. This happens in many countries, I came to know it when I met friends and artists from all around the world. They faced the same obstacles as I did; the only difference was about the level of political pressure. Ahmad was a friend of mine who helped me a lot with my documentary film in Somalia. When I read about his murder by AL Qaeda on my email, I remembered all my memories with him and decided to step in this path and start my plan anyhow, even with no help from any organization!

I came to the conclusion that I need to found an international institute like a social system so that artists help other artists working on human rights and humanity. This institute will help artists and filmmakers in their activities and helps them to show what they do!”

Abedin MAhdavi, Cinema Director & war children photographer, United Nation Office, Geneva