"Afghan Star" highlights the struggles, stories of its contestants

Updated 11:12 AM ET, Thu March 19, 2015
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In the popular television show "Afghan Star" -- the Afghanistan version of "American Idol" -- men and women can appear on stage together. TOLO TV
One of the final contestants, Panj Shanbe Maftoon, plays the sitar. TOLO TV
An Afghan woman shared her story of having a hard time feeding her children on "Afghan Star" on International Women's Day as part of a fund-raising effort. TOLO TV
Shahla Zaland, who comes from a family of famous composers and singers, performs a poem set to music. "I am not that weak willow tree that trembles with the wind. I am an Afghan woman and so I wail." TOLO TV
Women in the audience of the show "Afghan Star." TOLO TV
Dawood Pazhman, a contestant from last year's "Afghan Star." TOLO TV
"Afghan Star" is hosted by Mustafa Azizyar. TOLO TV
Singer Arash Barez gives a flower to a judge on International Women's Day. TOLO TV
Contestant Mursal Farhmand performs on "Afghan Star." TOLO TV
"Afghan Star" judges, from left: Sharif Ghazal, Shadkam, Shahla Zaland, Qasem Rameshgar TOLO TV
Ali Saqi, one of the finalists in this year's "Afghan Star." TOLO TV