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Adila achieved the dream of having her own tailoring workshop

“When we are in the position of teaching others, we eventually realize our shortcomings and the points in which we lack the expertise that need more practice. I found this reality while I was teaching others how to sew and stitch. We learn more when we teach” Said Adila.

It has been 10 years that Mrs. Adila started tailoring and when she decided to start tailoring she never has thought that one day she would be in the place where she is now. Adila used to go to her neighbor’s house where all were professional tailors and she was just permitted to watch them working until she could pay the tuition fees and learn basics. After several months Adila learned basic skills but she wanted to learn a little more professional things because she felt she had more aptitude to become professional than what tailors were thinking of her.

The only missing thing was the money to pay the fee for advanced tailoring this appeared like a wall between her dream and her poor financial status.

One morning when she woke up she felt motivated it was like a voice in her head was encouraging her to go and talk to the tailors but at the same time, she could hear another voice telling her “no… this is not the way you go because you don’t have enough money and you are not brave enough to talk to the tailors” finally she decided to gather her courage and try to convince the tailors to accept the reduced fee that she was able to afford.

“It was early morning in winter that I run to a neighboring house. Everybody was shocked and said that I was looking totally different. I don’t know what the reason was but everyone including me could realize how motivated and courageous I became” said Adila. She described that memorable day by telling us what she could remember.

“I remembered a lady came to order a garment just the day before and after giving her size to the tailors she left, as it was almost evening so the tailors left the cloth away to sew it next day. When I entered their home I saw the cloth and without talking any words I started working on that. I could remember that I cut the cloth very nicely as all were praising me and clapping for the nice work I did.” Adila shared.

That day onwards tailors decided to teach her advance tailoring and from that day not only Adila was changed but also her trainers changed as they were impressed by her courage and efforts. When she became a professional tailor she was very keen to teach other interested women tailoring and help them to become professional ones, but lack of funds has pulled her back from her dream as she was not able to save enough money for opening a workshop. Since the year 2018 that Adila joined Zardozi she benefited not only from business development trainings but also she could take a loan. Finally, she managed to establish her workshop where now she can provide tailoring training courses.

She is now 40 years old living in Mazar-e- sharif and is the mother of 6 children, four young daughters, and two sons. More than 8 women are working along with her in the workshop, and she earns an average income of AFN 15000 in a month. She enjoys working as a trainer and teaching other women tailoring in her workshop.

“I thank Zardozi for supporting women in business” were Adila’s parting words.


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Zardozi’s Microfinance Support

Business people often take loan for different purposes such as to increase working capital, invest in equipment, maintain business operation, and many other business purposes. A loan like many other decisions in business can be seen by the business owner as either risky or advantageous If the loan is productive it certainly increases the values but when it is not it will become a cost to the business.

Zardozi started granting business loans to clients in the year 2011 since that time our clients in four regions have benefitted from different types of loans. Women use cash loans, loans in kind, and mixed loans to develop their business or purchase equipment and supplies. Women who recently join Zardozi would be granted a business startup loan after completion of three months of membership and business training classes. When their application for a loan is approved by our loan committee and the loan is issued to them, they must repay their loans in installments within five or ten months based on the size of their loans. Around AFN 7,228,000 as cash loans were issued to the clients in four regions during the last year.

It is very pleasing to know that our clients are satisfied with our loan policies and procedures as Zardozi is always committed to set policies that occur most comfortable for the clients.

Based on a quarterly feedback survey that we conducted in March 2020 we found that 91% of borrowers are satisfied with the loan reimbursement policy and procedures, and 94% of them were satisfied with the Loan application and approval process.

“What I like about the loans Zardozi provides is that the payment process is flexible as we have never faced issues in clearing them. All the procedure is well designed to meet our business status. I think we are so fortune being benefited from this type of loans” said Dordana Zardozi’s senior client.

Zardozi does not charge interest on the loans it provides. The objective is to just facilitate the access of women to microfinance supports needed for their business development, hence, our clients are required to pay an amount of AFN 50 for administrative costs incurring in the processing of the loans.


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Zardozi donates clothing to patients in the Afghan Red Crescent Society

October 10, 2020, was a special day for our organization since it was the day, we met representatives of the Afghan Red Crescent Society (IFRC) after several months of waiting for activities resume.

Our activist community leader MsKefayat along with our staff met Dr. Mirwais Akram the acting president of the Afghan Red Crescent Society in the IFRC office and discussed how Zardozi can support IFRC’s beneficiaries. “We appreciate your working with us and supports of our patients in any way possible,” said Dr. Akram

In the month of October, 160 pieces of female clothing were made by our clients as part of tailoring-training classes held in Kabul. Zardozi encourages the trainers and clients to not waste cloths during tailoring instead to make beautiful garments to be donated to those who are too poor to buy their own clothes. Our trainees are not only happy to avoid wasting cloths but also they are pleased as they could take part in a humanitarian activity. “I could hear comments from some of our clients who mostly have a poor economic background expressing how they are happy to donate clothing. They say that due to our financial difficulties we are not able to financially help others, but when we take part in sewing these clothes it gives us a pleasant feeling and our regrets turn to happiness” said Mrs. Karima the vocational trainer about some of her trainees.

140 pieces of clothing were donated to those patients who suffer from mental illness and live in the mental hospital of IFRC.  IFRC picks up these patients who are homeless and living on the streets and provides them with therapy and caring services until they can be either healed or at least kept in a proper place.

At the handover ceremony, IFRC rewarded their female cleaners working in the mental hospital by giving them new clothes as well. Dr. Akram appreciated their patience and hard work in the high- pressure situation in the mental hospital.

Most of the patients in the hospital have to begin a new life after being cured and of course, they need supports. In this case, IFRC conducts some sort of technical training classes for their outpatients to build their capacity to independently earn for a way to live when they leave the hospital. Female patients show more interest in tailoring and embroidery, Dr. Akram asked Zardozi for their cooperation in holding training classes for those patients.

Staff and activists were impressed and appreciated that IFRC can rescue and rehabilitate mental patients and to give them back their lives.


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Zardozi’s clients attend a trade show at Chil-sitoon garden

Zardozi provides a range of services for its clients including Market Development which receives a lot of interest from clients. Our clients complete a training session on business development in order to understand the requirements of their target customers, how to set profitable pricing, sales promotion strategies, and product enhancement; Zardozi also supports its clients to maintain a relatively stable position in the market through linking clients to those customers who are identified as relatively permanent leads for their products. Zardozi introduces temporary opportunities such as trade shows as well, the objective being to increase sales income of our clients and strengthen B2B relations.

Since the beginning of 2020, Zardozi clients have benefited from two trade shows held in Kabul province. A trade show is a good opportunity for clients to build strong business networks and to expand their businesses through joint investment. This also helps them to reach aggregate leads for their products.

“If I hadn’t participated in exhibitions, I would have never met the businesswomen that have succeeded in this field, I have learned new things from their experience and knowledge,” said Bibi Shirin, a Zardozi client.

The Ministry of Commerce and Industries in coordination with the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs held a trade show for female business owners on September 23 to 25, 2020. The Ministry invited Zardozi’s clients to exhibit their products in the Chil-Sitoon garden trade show. Zardozi’s successful businesswoman of the year 2019  Mrs. Farzana, was among the invitees in that trade show.

Mrs. Farzana shared comments on the first day of the event “I enjoyed talking to the visitors who were very interested in my products and I met some businesswomen who requested me for training on tailoring woolen waistcoats. It seems I am going to have great days ahead.”

 


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Zardozi activists women work for environmental protection In their area

Zardozi establishes Community Business Centers for its clients in four provinces Herat, Balkh, Jalalabad, and Kabul in order to facilitate women’s access to business supports services such as microfinance, trainings, and etc. Zardozi’s vocational trainers, Kadars, regional staff, and clients gather on visit day. CBCs are the place where Zardozi’s activist women known as Kadars encourage clients to talk about problems and issues of concern in the community.

Zardozi trains Kadar in facilitating collective action to address problems in the community. Most commonly women rise practical issues such as are found in the poorly developed urban districts, where the municipality has not yet extended its services. A poor waste removal services is an issue in many districts of Kabul province.

One of our clients in Char Qalai-Wazirabad said “if the municipality does not remove the garbage regularly, it threatens the residents’ health and the environment as a whole” Char Qalai-Wazirabad used to be a good example of poor waste management – the residents had no option but to throw their garbage onto a piece of unused land at a street corner. Not only residents but others saw it as convenient to throw their house waste.

“The garbage was piled up in a huge mound near the wall and there was a terrible smell. We couldn’t remove all that garbage ourselves, so we needed the municipality to clean the area.” said Zardozi staff.

Char Qalai-Wazirabad’s elders and our Kadars visited the district municipality to solve the issue of the garbage, The district municipality has cleaned the area as part of its services and suggested to the residents that they hire a private company for removing their wastes regularly till the time municipality starts its waste removal services which is already in their plans. Nowadays, the residents in Char Qalai-Wazirabad pay a monthly contribution to a private company for removing the wastes twice a week from their area.


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Ms. Soryia opens her beauty parlor shop by Zardozi’s loan

Zardozi is once again proud of introducing one of its successful and creative clients in Mazar-Sharif to our honored audiences. Here is Ms. Soryia, the lady who had experienced several traumas in her life but never gave up on any situation. Ms. Soryia is a Nidsf- Jahan member living in Kart-e- Wahdat district of Balkh province.

Soryia is known as a proactive and optimistic woman among her friends and relatives. Her family, especially her father had encouraged her to be independent and follow her career dreams. But unfortunately, there were always outside barriers mostly cultural and community restrictions which had created tight walls between Soryia and her dreams.

“Owning a big and well-decorated beauty parlor shop in our city is my dream, and I will always aggregate and utilize all my intellectual and financial properties to achieve it”. Said Soryia.

“Being surrounded by a lot of customers around me, sharing joys and laughter, gaining their satisfaction on my services, and hearing positive feedbacks make me feel happy and more willing to expand my business”. She added.

In the beginning, Soryia used to work from her home and receive customers in the home. Her customers were unhappy with the environment of her workplace as her parents allocated one of their rooms for her beauty works. It was uncomfortable for Soryia and her customers to do their make-ups or haircuts in the home. This matter caused Soryia to lose her customers day by day. She did not lose her hope and tried to find solutions, so she reached Zardozi’s business development advisors to help her overcome this challenge. After a few meetings with advisors, she agreed to establish her new shop in the city and cover the initial startup expenses by Zardozi’s loan.

Initially, she was reluctant to open a beauty parlor shop in the city where the area is mostly crowded by men passengers and there definitely would be a low possibility of sustaining a woman-owned business.

“I had my family standing by my side and strengthening my intention to follow my dreams. This is the reason how I could cope with the fear of the outside market and opened my shop with confidence. Now my family is proud of me taking the right decision”.

This is the first step she took towards her dream and she will have a long journey ahead to achieve all her dreams in the future. Zardozi is always with its clients in each step of their career life and it motivates Zardozi to continue its supports and services while seeing strong and independent women in the society who never give up.


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Zardozi’s loan is financially empowering women to start their own business

Sometimes, it happens with the skillful and knowledgeable woman having great business concepts and ideas but not being financially able to start the business. It has been heard from many women over certain financial shortcomings, not only once, but also many times, their ideas remained just ideas. Due to backward financial status, they had not the opportunity to turn their ideas into a real business and consequently use their talents to develop that business.

Zardozi besides its business training services is also providing short term and medium-term loan facilities for women to start their business. Zardozi does not charge any type of interest on the loans provided for its clients. The loans are used to fill the investment gaps and to purchase required production or service materials for new businesses.

Zardozi’s Investment loan pressed the button on for Fatima’s business!

Fatima is a young independent woman newly established her business of photography in Mazar-Sharif. Earlier Fatima was working in the field of tailoring and embroidery, but she had the dream of running a photography business. Both tailoring and photography were her favorite professions to carry on, but she preferred to take the photography for further opportunity cost as she could earn more out of the photography business rather than tailoring. Fatima is an educated young woman with good entrepreneurship skills ready to meet new challenges to improve her business. Of course, she had passed the impassable ways en-route to her business goals. The capital shortage is one of the greatest challenges she had to meet to start her business up. She was lacking a great portion of the fund to purchase the necessary assets of her ideal business. She was potentially ready to start and manage her photography business as she had attended three months training class of photography and video recording plus passing one year working in a photography shop as a contract employee. But, there was a big challenge ahead; her financial resources were not adequate to complete the requirements of her business.

In such cases, Zardozi channelizes its available loan funds to support women to get access to the financial resources of their deficiency. Fortunately, Fatima was an active member of Nisf-Jahan from 2018 and Zardoz’s clients since 2016; hence, her membership eased her access to many opportunities which business startup loan is one of them. Fatima had purchased two professional cameras one for photography and another for video recording by the loan she got from Zardozi.

Zardozi supported Fatima in distributing her brochures in all nearby Community Business Centers, and also, referred a female assistant from Nisf-Jahan to assist her in the recording of the coming events and ceremonial parties. Currently, Fatima has hired three employees in her shop. She is dreaming to expand her business and create more employment opportunities for people.

“My heartiest thanks go to those who believed in me and encouraged me to start this business. There were a lot of changes that happened to my life which all of them gave me the strength and made me stronger to meet greater challenges and create greater results in return”. Fatima shared with Zardozi.

Now, Fatima is enough capable of running alone a family of four including her mother and her sister and brother. “It feels so satisfied seeing my family is not facing financial difficulties anymore”. Fatima’s expressions.

It is a great joy for all members of Zardozi’s team to see such great success and fulfillment in the life of the clients and their families.


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Kadar helped Sabira to attain her legal rights

It is very sad and disappointing to see ourselves in a state of loneliness while being surrounded by life-threatening problems. It is even more disappointing to not being able to receive supports or understanding.

Zardozi is proud of its kadars, the activity of kadars, and the honors Kadar brought in our society. Kadars activities and achievements are strongly appreciated by Zardozi, as their continuous efforts have changed the lives of many women across the four regions. Our Kadars voluntarily take the challenges and risks to create a positive impact on certain aspects of women’s life in Afghanistan. Our Kadars are a good example of women activists working for the rights of our clients/women in the communities. The Kadars work closely with Zardozi to firstly identify the challenge and problems the clients/ women faces, then shares the problem and try to solve it, secondly, if the expertise rather than what we have at Zardozi, then they are introducing those women to other partner organizations for supports. Such as if the clients need medical assistance they introduced them to the MoPH and their directorates in the regions, if she needs psychosocial and legal support they are introduced to Medica Afghanistan, and so on.

Our Kadars in Mazar-Sharif had brought joy and pride into our hearts. They supported one of our clients in her legal case.

Here is Sabira the young woman who lives in Mazar-Sharif with her parents. Sabira, has a lot to say about her life, the pain and sorrow she suffered are clearly seen in her eyes.

Sabira, was married to a man who used to insult her and always undermine her ability and values for being a woman, Sabira, despite all the frustration and insults from her husband and in-laws, was trying to save the marriage because it was difficult for her to stand alone against the entire in-law and then respond to the society she lives in.

The relationship was getting worse day by day to the extent that Sabira’s husband asked Sabira to leave the home without proper divorce, but unfortunately, the time had arrived and she ought to choose to save herself from further life loss. There was another serious problem that was drowning her into deep disappointment. Yes, her health issue. The tortures, disappointments, distress, and mental fatigue had affected her health as she found difficulties in her body movements. There was serious damage in her nervous system diagnosed by doctors.

Our Kadars started searching for organizations and individuals who could help Sabira in her legal case. Fortunately, after several efforts, Kadars could introduce Sabira to a woman lawyer from Medica Afghanistan, to provide supports to Sabira in her legal case. They all together helped Sabira to take her dowry back from her in-laws and receive the signed letter of divorce. Sabira traveled to Pakistan for her medical treatment as it was advised by her doctors. She covered all medical expenses by selling her dowry. Now she is fully recovered and healthy to start a new stage of her life.

Sabira is hopeful about her future and now she is interested to start her business, Zardozi is also here to support her in her new business.


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Masuma is managing her business well within the current social norms

Masuma 26 years young women have joined Zardozi’s business center in Mazar Sharif in the year 2018, here, you can find out how Masuma, developed her business from basic sewing to advanced tailoring since she joined Zardozi’s team. Tailoring is now Masuma’s merely occupation and she loves her profession. At the beginning, she might have faced numerous challenges like many other self-employed women in Afghanistan but what is interesting about this lady is she could develop her business too quickly within one year. Her personal efforts and her family has been her greatest motivation and have played a vital role in her success.

Masuma, lost her parents long ago in Afghanistan’s civil war and she had to look after her younger brother and sisters as she is the oldest member of her family. Generally, being responsible for the survival of family is the heaviest load on one’s shoulder but in specific as a woman, taking this responsibility requires a lot of courage and efforts, it is even harder to pursue on this responsibility in a man dominated and rigid culture in a society like an afghan society where the old traditions are being practiced. In our society it is too challenging for an uneducated woman to find  job in today’s job market, firstly and secondly

even if she finds a job it would be so difficult for young women to keep up the job due to social and cultural norms, (working outside for a woman is not acceptable by many families and communities in Afghanistan). Therefore, women feel more secure and comfortable to undertake home-based jobs rather than working outside the home. However, even Self-employed women in Afghanistan are confronted with many conflicts as they must conform to boundaries and social expectations.

Economic necessity, illiteracy, and social norms had led most of the afghan women to choose tailoring as their profession and as a source of income.

The research by AREU in 2014 has shown tailoring occupation constitutes 25.1% of the total urban market labor participation in Afghanistan, out of which women tailors constitute 68% of the whole tailors’ community.

Masuma used to think it is impossible to earn sufficient money through working from home, so she was seeking a job outside her home to financially support her family. She became disappointed until she found Zardozi members. There, she had access to a professional trainer and business development advisors by which she could come up with a great idea of starting her own business of tailoring in her home. She could engage her siblings to assist her in her new business at home. It was more acceptable for her society and more comfortable for Masuma, and her siblings to take their business at home and earn money through it. During the last six months, Masuma had earned 40000 AFN as her net profit by which she could pay the expenses of her brother’s wedding and purchase raw materials for her business. Currently, two home producers and two-family members are working with Masuma in her business.

She proudly speaks this out now that no matter whether you are working from home or outside, you just need to value your ability and the courage to move on.

 

 


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Kubra’s business at the rough time of COVID 19

Meet Mrs. Kubra a senior and active client of zardozi, who has been beneficiary of zardozi programs for almost 12 years. Mrs. Kubra proudly has developed a business of handicrafts in Kabul province. It took her a lot of sincere efforts to establish and run her own business with great successes during the last 10 years. She has formally registered her handicraft business with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry of Afghanistan. Hence, she could be addressed as an effective Afghan businesswoman in the market of handicraft and tailoring business. She has certainly an important role in providing employment opportunities for other Afghan women and in the improvement of public revenue by paying business return taxes.

Kubra like many other Afghan women has faced brute challenges in the early stages of her business, as she was suffering from lack of business management skills and weak communication and marketing strategies. Zardozi training programs had helped her to transform her business idea into a real business. Kubra had shown great talents and interests in networking and business communications, she had improved her leadership and business development skills through active participation in almost all training sessions held by Zardozi’s CBC in Kabul.

She is now running her business with excellent leadership skills as she is managing over 65 women in this business, she is helping other women to earn independently and improve their lives. One of the greatest points about Mrs. Kubra is that she always stays connected with the Zardozi marketing team since she could well utilize the business opportunities identified by the marketing team. During the COVID 19 lockdown period, she has got many orders of preparing facemasks for Finka Bank “the client linked through Zardozi marketing team “, gradually, due to high customer satisfaction the Number of orders extended for her facemasks during the last two months.

Kubra is extremely happy for being Zardozi’s beneficiary for a long period. She says “I am happy that I could save my business during COVID 19, and I am happier that my business helped other women to stay employed during this difficult time, I know it wasn’t possible if I never could reach out to Zardozi”. Along with Kubra, all zardozi staffs are happy with their efforts as their joint efforts are creating greater impacts on society.

She has gone through many hard times in her life, she is 50 years old lady who is the mother of 9 children, she passed 3 decades of her life witnessing Afghanistan’s civil wars, the war which has affected all aspects of people’s life such as family, education, economy, and health. Kubra as a strong mother has remained hopeful and active all the time of her life, she supported her husband and her children with a maximum of her skills and qualities. She has fought for her family’s survival while they were immigrated to Pakistan for over 5 years.

She regrets that due to poverty, her older children couldn’t go to school, but now she is hopeful for the future of her younger child as she is financially enough capable to support her younger child to go school and have a better future.

This is amazing to see Afghan women are interested and committed to development. They have brought great changes in their personal lives and the economy of the country. Afghan women have proved that they are creative and hopeful in all hard situations, so they deserve more supports and appreciation.

Best to all Afghan Women.


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