Aissa and Alasan, 1 (Anush Babajanyan)

Issif and Inus, 5. (Anush Babajanyan)

Anush Babajanyan was walking the streets of Abidjan, Ivory Coast, when she came across an unusual sight: dozens of twin children sitting near the Grande Mosque of Koumassi, a suburb in the Ivory Coast capital. “It looked strange,” said the Armenian freelance photographer, whose interest was immediately piqued.

In parts of West Africa, twins are believed to hold spiritual powers. “Many people will seek blessing from them,” Babajanyan said. “So, their mothers, often from poor [households] bring them out, usually around mosques, for alms and donations. They know that people who come out of the mosque, or other passersby, will support them.”

Babajanyan wanted to bring to light “this curious and rather sad reality,” spending several days with the twins to shoot these portraits.

Together, mothers and twins spend many hours of a day sitting and playing in the same spot (Anush Babajanyan)

Zena and Barakis, 7. (Anush Babajanyan)

Fouseni and Alasan, 8. (Anush Babajanyan)

Asana and Alasan, 4. (Anush Babajanyan)

Asana and Fousseni, 6. (Anush Babajanyan)

Fouseni and Alasan, 3. (Anush Babajanyan)

Asetou and Naffisa, 7. (Anush Babajanyan)

Mahmoud and Amadou, 12. (Anush Babajanyan)

More on In Sight:

Two sisters pursue different lives in post-apartheid Manenberg, South Africa

Forgotten in the dust of northern Colombia

Turning ordinary into magical: Amateur photographer presents new look at life in India

In Sight is The Washington Post photography blog for visual narrative. This platform showcases compelling and diverse imagery from staff and freelance photographers, news agencies and archives. If you are interested in submitting a story to In Sight, please complete this form.