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  • At age 10 Sabere was sold to a man in the Taliban and suffered six years of slavery and abuse.

    At age 10 Sabere was sold to a man in the Taliban and suffered six years of slavery and abuse.

    http://cdn.itvs.org/i_was_worth_50_sheep-trailer.jpgmp4:i_was_worth_50_sheep-trailer-1024.mov
  • Filmmakers follow stories from behind the burka.

    Filmmakers follow stories from behind the burka.

    http://cdn.itvs.org/i_was_worth_50_sheep-extra.jpgmp4:i_was_worth_50_sheep-extra-1024.mov
  • Sabereh, Farzaneh and her stepfather Khalegh

    Sabereh, Farzaneh and her stepfather Khalegh

    http://cdn.itvs.org/i_was_worth_50_sheep-01.jpg
  • Farzaneh and her grandmother

    Farzaneh and her grandmother

    http://cdn.itvs.org/i_was_worth_50_sheep-02.jpg
  • Sabereh and her stepfather Khaleg

    Sabereh and her stepfather Khaleg

    http://cdn.itvs.org/i_was_worth_50_sheep-03.jpg
  • Sabereh and Farzaneh

    Sabereh and Farzaneh

    http://cdn.itvs.org/i_was_worth_50_sheep-04.jpg
  • Sabereh, Farzaneh, her mother and grandmother

    Sabereh, Farzaneh, her mother and grandmother

    http://cdn.itvs.org/i_was_worth_50_sheep-05.jpg
  • Sabereh’s stepfather Khalegh

    Sabereh’s stepfather Khalegh

    http://cdn.itvs.org/i_was_worth_50_sheep-06.jpg

The Film

Sabere, now 16, was only 7 years old when her father died in war. Her cousin inherited her, and following a long-practiced tradition in Afghanistan, he sold her when she was 10 years old to Golmohammad, a man in his 50s and a member of the Taliban. During the next six years she was both a slave and wife of Golmohammad. She became pregnant four times, miscarrying each time. The cause may have been her youth, or the abuse she suffered at the hands of her husband. While they were on a trip to Mazar-e sharif, Sabere managed to escape and after much effort, she made her way to a women's shelter.

Meanwhile, Sabere's mother needed to remarry quickly to avoid bringing shame on the family with her widowhood. According to tradition, ownership and betrothal of a widow transfers to the deceased's cousin. So Sabere's mother marries the cousin, and gives birth to a daughter named Farzane (Sabere's half-sister). The family struggles to make ends meet, so when Farzane is 10 years old, her father sells her to a man in western Afghanistan. Her price: 50 sheep and a piece of dry-farming land. As a kind of installment plan, the buyer pays Farzane's father 10 sheep per year, and will take possession of her when she is 15 and the full amount has been paid.

After six months of searching, the women's shelter tracks down Sabere's mother and her stepfather and invites them to the shelter for a meeting. When they discover the deal to sell Farzane, the shelter's managers realize they not only need to help Sabere but Farzane as well.

Sabere has applied for a divorce with the shelter's assistance, but she knows that her husband will find her and kill her — as he had his two previous wives — if she is not protected well. Golmohammad, who is over sixty, refuses to attend the domestic court proceedings because he refuses to accept the divorce, but also because he is wanted by the police on a charge of kidnapping. The court cannot force him to appear, because he lives in a part of the country controlled by the Taliban. So Sabere, with help from the shelter and police, embarks on a ruse to lure Golmohammad to Mazar-e sharif so he can be arrested.

I Was Worth 50 Sheep is the tale of these two sisters and their struggle for human dignity and freedom in a war-torn country caught between ancient traditions and a modern world.

The Filmmakers

  1. Nima SarvestaniDirector
  2. Maryam EbrahimiProducer