I am Durdana from Ghazni and I’m among one of the first batch of Kadar (volunteers) nominated by Zardozi.
My journey with Zardozi began nearly a decade ago. Before I became a part of the organisation, I operated a small women’s bakery in my house in Kabul’s Dasht-e-Barchi area. I also supplemented my income by spinning wool for three years.
All this, I did to support my family of nine that includes my grandchildren and my 110-year-old mother-in-law.
When Zardozi approached me in 2005, I did not need to think twice to participate. I have since gotten more involved in
Zardozi activities with each passing year. I was elected the chairperson of Nisfe Jahan and held that position for nearly four years, and had to give it up when I decided to go for hajj (pilgrimage).
Zardozi not only trained me in business skills, but also helped find a market for my handicrafts. My income and standard of living improved significantly and I further involved myself in Zardozi.
I have made some really close friends at Zardozi. We share so much in common—their lives, struggles, stories are to similar to mine. I met my best friend Kobra at Zardozi. Zardozi approached her around the same time as I joined the organisation—we’ve been fast friends since the first day that we met at the Dasht-e-Barchi Manbeh. And here we are today, both of us, veteran members of Zardozi, nominated as proud volunteers to overlook local operations.
We love our jobs, because we get to help the people, solve their problems. The newer members don’t always feel comfortable sharing their problems with their trainers, but we find that they are more open to talking to us. For instance, once at the Haji Nabi Manbeh there was a misunderstanding between one of our new clients who wanted to purchase a tailoring machine, and the Zardozi staff. The shopkeeper informed the staff member that the client purchased the machine at a much lower price, but wrongly informed the organisation that it cost much more. This client, however, strongly denied doing any such thing. There was a lot of bitterness and things had gotten very nasty when they brought the issue to us. We took all parties involved to market to meet with the shopkeeper, along with all the bills and documents we had. We matched them with the bills the shopkeeper had, and it turns out that there was no discrepancy at all!
The clients trust us so much that they not only discuss business issues with us, but also their family problems. We often consult with their family members to help solve their domestic issues. And we are glad to be able to be of help to these young women.
I’m grateful to Zardozi for this opportunity. It gives me a platform to inspire and encourage more women with my own story. I often tell the younger women at the Manbehs how I started with just 2000 Afs and then build my house, married off my sons, and went to pilgrimage—all by myself.
But, more importantly, the best part about being a Kadar is the responsibility of decision-making that Zardozi has given us. They don’t just consult us, but follow through on our decisions.
Our work at Zardozi has brought us respect in the community. There was a time when people would call me names because I worked outside of home, but now the very same people respect us. Within our families, too, we have a better position. My husband, for instance, helps around the house so that I have more time to give towards my job as a Kadar. My son does not make any major decision without my consult.
Our work at Zardozi has empowered us in so many ways!