Author Archives: admin

  • 0

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.

 

 


  • 0

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.


  • 0

Zardozi distributed food as poverty increases amid COVID-19 lockdown

Afghans are suffering more from coronavirus lockdown and joblessness during the holy month of Ramadan. Zardozi clients saw a major setback in their small businesses which were the only source of income and hope for their children.  

Among many of the clients Zardozi serves, Roshan Gul, a mother of 4 daughters and one son leads a poor life in a small mud house far away from the city of Herat.

For Roshan Gul and her kids, quarantine in Ramadan is like a nightmare as most of their days passed by without any food on Iftars, evening meal for breaking fast in Ramadan.

“I am lost about what to pay for with the little saving I have had. My son’s medicine? The bills and rent of the house? Or an onetime food?” says Roshan Gul as she sits by the bed of her son who has been suffering from a mental illness for the past several years.

The coronavirus pandemic in Afghanistan may not be closer to its peak yet but millions of people are already unemployed which is raising the percentage of poverty in the country; hence, making this Ramadan the hardest of all.

People like Roshan Gul, who used to sell eggs to earn some money, are no exception to this. They are paying the highest price for the lockdown.

In the middle of all these crisis, several businessmen and humanitarian relief and development organizations are playing a key role in responding to the COVID-19 crisis by distributing awareness flyers, hygienic materials, and food packages.

Recently, Zardozi also allocated a portion of money for distributing food to 124 low-income families in Kabul, Mazar-e-sharif, Jalalabad, and Heart. In each of this province 30 clients were supported with a package that included flour, sugar, oil, rice, pasta, salt, tomato paste, tea, pea, bean, lentil beans, and soap.

For transparency of the process, Zardozi created a food distribution committee that consisted of Zardozi staff member, Nisfe-Jahan member, and Kadar to buy food and disseminate it to the poor families. The representatives of Directorate of Women Affairs who attended the event in Jalalabad and Herat were very pleased with the transparency of food distribution and appreciated Zardozi’s constant support to underprivileged Afghan women.

The distribution of food in the four provinces was a significant step in the eyes of the families. The tears of happiness and prayers in their voices demonstrated the pain of starvation and fears of continuation of the government-imposed quarantine.

When Roshan Gul’s daughters saw Zardozi distribute the food, they jumped from happiness. One of her little girls excited about having pasta for dinner that night said to the staff member, “When I grow up, I will also help people as you did.”

Zardozi’s Kadar member says that poverty is forcing people to beg on the streets. Zardozi will not be able to reach out to all of its clients, but it will try its best to find solutions to alleviate the situation for some. “I would encourage everyone with a good economic situation to help their poor neighbors because we must be together to get out of this disaster,” Bi Bi Haji, the Kadar says.


  • 0

Clients dedicated to producing more protection clothes

Adela, Zainab, Asma, Jamila, Samiha and Jamila are the six skilled and active women of Char Qala-e-Wazirabad district of Kabul who came together from little income families and running small businesses. They joined hands to open a tailoring production workshop in early 2019 – an initiative encouraged by Zardozi.

The women would come together in their not very big workshop and sometimes worked until late to complete customers’ orders. The production workshop, thereafter, became their second home where they could also pour out their hearts and support one another mentally.

“The production workshop started off with small to big orders, it was like winning our own little lottery,” Asma spoke while working on their current order lying in piles in front of her. Adela who is closer to Asma grinned at her comment, whispering “that was the first time Asma had ever made that much in a lifetime.” The little giggles and atmosphere filled with trust added fun and passion to their work.

However, with the sudden and rapid spread of COVID-19, Asma and her business partners in the workshop never expected a drop in their regular high incomes. “The word was all over the place in radios and TVs in no time. Businesses stopped, it was miserable for all of us. What are we going to eat became the main concern,” said Jamila.

“But we had to think about a solution to survive. We asked our business trainers at Zardozi. Their awareness program and initiatives by clients in Herat and Kabul gave us the idea of making protection kits and masks,” Adela added to Jamila.

The group used this opportunity and changed the line of production to PPT kits. Zardozi introduced them to the market, and since they had built a good reputation from last year, a contract was awarded to them. The wholesaler also provided all the raw materials for the protection clothes that the clients were going to make.

Asma says that up until now they have made 550 pairs of the safety clothes which have generated 40,000 AFS. She says, “We are grateful that the business did not shut down like many did in the city. At least there is enough to eat to get us through the holy month of Ramadan.”

Note: The clients wear protection clothes when they enter the workshop and sits 2 meters apart from one another. They use disinfectants everyday to destroy the possibility of any existent virus that would affect their production.


  • 0

Zardozi facilitated online counseling in quarantine

Afghan women have always been more vulnerable to depression and anxiety. They have sacrificed their mental health to domestic violence, gender inequality and social and economical problems by suffering silently. To help women alleviate their pain and speak about their problems, Zardozi with the help of organizations like MEDICA Afghanistan facilitates socio psychotherapy sessions for its clients in community business centers or Manbehs in the three provinces – Kabul, Mazar-e-sharif, and Heart.

The outbreak of coronavirus left a more profound effect on people’s mental health because of unemployment, poverty and loneliness. As the lockdown calls for everyone to stay at home, the rise in violence and abuse against women is more likely to be expected. According to the estimations made by UN agency for sexual and reproductive health, “there would be 31 million cases of domestic violence worldwide if lockdowns continue for another six months.”

Since most of Zardozi clients are now connected through online chat rooms, majority complains are reported about the daily struggles they have with joblessness and the associated family problems that come with it. Mahtab, a client of Zardozi says that financial issues have stressed everyone at home which sometimes results into a fight between her and her husband.

After recognizing the problem, Zardozi regional managers in Herat and Mazar-e-Sharif discussed this issue with MEDICA Afghanistan. The organization was happy to cooperate with Zardozi as part of their campaign against COVID-19 in Herat, Kabul and Mazar-e-Sharif.

MEDICA Afghanistan provided contact numbers of doctors who will assist Zardozi clients with their economic and social problems as well as give health tips for free. Mahtab says that when Zardozi shared the numbers through the IMO group, she would call the doctors when she wanted to talk or take advice. “It is hard to find someone to talk to because of the fear of the virus. The doctors seem like nice people. They help me calm down when I am stressed,” Mahtab says.


  • 0

Zardozi clients distributed free masks

“I knew that we are living in the danger of a bad virus which does not have any cure yet, so I distributed free masks. I tried to have my small part of contribution to the community.”

Driven by strong sense of responsibility and care, Sabza, Malalai and Rohena are clients of Zardozi who works as service provider and Executive Committee Memebers of Zardozi’s Manbeh/CBC in far districts of Kabul.

The three women are also skilled tailors in their respective areas. Each of them in their own village came up with the idea of making clean masks out of leftover clothes. They used the clothes to make masks for the people who were suffering from hunger and also could not afford the high prices of pharmacies to protect themselves against coronavirus.

Malalai who has a tailoring production workshop of baby sets and dresses says, “The pharmacies are so cruel with their skyrocketing prices.”“I could not just stay home and do nothing while seeing all these people die. Therefore, I made 400 facemasks and distributed it among the labors with the help of my father.”

Similary, Sabza and Rohena, each made 100 and 350 masks from pieces of clothes that were left from other people’s dresses. They distributed the masks to their neighbors and street vendors in Project Khurasan of Kabul.

“I hear that the masks may not fully stop the virus, but people are helpless, they come out, they can’t die from hunger inside their houses either. The mask is just a hope that may decrease the spread of the virus, and we are doing what is in our capacity,” Sabza said.

In a country like Afghanistan, where a high majority of people live below the poverty line, the coronavirus crisis has hit the country with more devastation. Thus, such stories and acts of kindness gives us hope and encourage us to do what we can as individuals.

 


  • 0

Zarifa Fights COVID-19 by Sewing Masks

Just like many of our clients in Herat, 28 years old Zarifa’s economy was also hit by the coronavirus crisis and government quarantine order.

Zarifa together with her two brothers, who are mechanics by profession, was the only breadwinner of the family but as the markets were closed, their financial situation also disrupted.

Zarifa contacted Nisfe Jahan office to seek for any kind of help that could help alleviate the situation.

Zardozi’s Mazar-e-sharif vocational/business trainers advised and helped her with preparing a new design of mask as a sample.

Meanwhile, Kadar in the coordination with the marketing team did some market research, showed Zarifa’s masks’ samples to clinics and drugstores, and discussed business with them. Following a few days of marketing, Zardozi’s Mazar-e-sharif office introduced Zarifa to one of the drugstores who signed a big order with Zarifa.

Zarifa says, “Now I stitch 100 masks in a day and sell it for 10 AFS to the wholesaler. During this tough time, I get to support my family very well through this income. My whole family prays for Zardozi.”

Zardozi’s Mazar-e-sharif regional manager says that it’s a very difficult time for everyone but even harder for the poor people. Although, protecting her staff is the first important part of her job, but each office member is ready to sacrifice to reach out to those in pain. They work day and night to come up with income generating ideas for women while taking social distancing into mind.

 


  • 0

Zardozi’s Achievements in Herat during Quarantine

Herat turned out to have the most cases of COVID-19 in Afghanistan. According to the Aljazeera report, it became the hotbed for coronavirus cases as many Afghans returned from Iran, and safety measures were underestimated.

The organization identified that health tips and awareness about preventing the virus are the foremost essential thing since rural areas are the most susceptible to the virus.

Zardozi’s office in Herat was closed immediately after many deaths were

reported and the staff was instructed to work from home. Hence, while people got unemployed and helpless due to self-quarantine, Zardozi and Kadar came together to initiate plans that generated income for the poor families.

The organization identified that health tips and awareness about preventing the virus are the foremost essential thing since rural areas are the most susceptible to the virus.

As the majority of the people did not have electricity, or access to TV and internet, two teams from Zardozi decided to distribute Corona related information brochures and advertising posters that were easily understood by the uneducated population.

These brochures along with voice messages on loudspeakers on top of trucks were provided by Herat’s Department of Health to Zardozi, as a result of which 2995 people were given the posters in 18 districts of Herat.

During these times of lockdown, people’s biggest concern was suffering from joblessness and hunger at home. To tackle this issue, clients were given the idea of cultivating vegetables at their houses which is both healthy and economical. Zardozi sent online training through its IMO chatbox, gave the loan, and purchased seeds for clients who had land and the capacity to plant vegetables and sell them at a reasonable price in the market.

Meena who started growing vegetables in her backyard, says that this was an important initiative in the face of skyrocketing prices of food in the bazaar. She says if all families do the same, they will be able to slightly sustain themselves throughout this disaster.

At the same time, Zardozi clients also took preventative measures and used their tailoring skills to make masks and personal protective equipment kits that included gowns and gloves. They started their work by signing an MoU and contract of 15,000 masks and hundreds of gowns with the Agency for Assistance and Development of Afghanistan (AADA).

The clients believe that making the PPT Kit has not only made an income for their families but it will also bring down the price of this equipment in the market if they sew many and sell them at a cost as low as 5 AFS per mask and 250-300 AFS per gown.

Zardozi’s Herat Regional Office Manager says that the pandemic affected many of their clients’ daily income but making the PPT kit was a good opportunity for 100 clients to earn some money for their children. She says that the client’s work has attracted more clinics and supermarkets as the office continuously strives to bring more contracts for clients and do marketing for their product which will come at a low cost for hospitals and people.

 

 


  • 0

Zardozi Continues Its Activities as COVID-19 Cases Climbs in Afghanistan

As the coronavirus spread rapidly across the globe, social distancing and staying at home orders by the government came to effect immediately in Afghanistan as well. Businesses, schools, universities, and offices closed down while many started working from home.

The quarantine, although necessary, had its side effects on the country’s economy and people’s life. Zardozi also take the brunt of the shut down as its programs for 6,000 clients in 4 provinces ceased to implement.

Nonetheless, as the staff and clients sat back in their homes, the uncomfortable feeling of those families suffering from hunger and depression inflicted by the global pandemic had Zardozi to not sit quietly at home and virtually serve as many clients as it can.

Zardozi minimized its activities and drafted plans that are focused on helping women find a different source of income using their tailoring and farming skills. Zardozi established online platforms for women who had access to smartphones and the internet in their districts. So far, it has been successful at taking advantage of WhatsApp and IMO’s social media platforms where Zardozi is connected to a range of 35 to 116 women in each of the four provinces.

These social media platforms are used for spreading awareness about coronavirus, announcing work opportunities, providing psychological help and business advice and implementing various other plans during the quarantine.


  • 0

Women work with men to build their community

As the common saying goes by, “men and women are two wings of a country. Just like a bird cannot fly with one wing, a country cannot develop without men and women working together.”

Zardozi Kadar’s are trained and empowered to educate other women about their social and legal rights. They raise awareness about the significance of women’s participation in solving community’s problems that strangle them equally.

Recently, our clients in districts of Mini Baba Yadgaris, Baba Ali Shir and Choghdak gathered to consult with Kadars to solve their problem with public transportation and cleanliness of roads and streets. Issues that were ignored by the men, women were now taking the lead to bring government’s attention to develop their areas.

Facilitating trade and transportation

On the outskirt of Mazar-e-Sharif, Mini Baba Yadgaris is a small village with little access to urban life advantages. When Zardozi clients and Kadars met on a usual Manbeh (Community Business Center) meeting day, they brought up the lack of public transportation which was affecting their access to market and businesses.

In addition, the people of the area commute several hours on feet to reach to the bus station to get to their destinations. Robbery, physical and verbal harassment are some of the biggest problems that the villagers face. What is more worrisome is that the women are harassed in the bus station which is normally packed with more men. Most of the times, the drivers don’t allow women on their buses because the male travelers do not sit next to them due to religious and cultural restrictions.

During the Manbeh meeting with Kadar, the women prepared a petition and submitted it to respective elders and council of the community for approval and further suggestion. The petition was also to make a request for women-only-transportation into the area.

The elders of the community assured that the government will first construct the roads followed by a proper public transportation system for men and women of the community. The government started the implementation of this project at the beginning of 2020.

Garbage Collection

In Choghdak village of Mazar-e-Sharif, 21 clients of Zardozi continuously insisted on the request for garbage collection from community elders until they themselves approached the municipality to provide them a garbage collection truck.

Zardozi Kadars and Executive Committee Members of this Manbah wrote an application to Clean and Green Cities Directorate of Mazar-e-Sharif’s Municipality to solve their problem. When the community leaders learned about this, they also felt obliged to support the women and to connect them with a relevant Directorate in the district.

After several visits to the Directorate and follow up of the issue with elders of the village, the women were able to receive a garbage collection truck in their areas. Currently, the truck removes waste from their neighborhoods on daily basis and each home pays a small fee in return.

The ECMs of Zardozi say, “People pray for us every day for making this happen. It feels very good to be appreciated.”

 

 


Newsletter