In countries like Afghanistan, women are supposed to stay at home; to take care of her children; and to run by the strict rules of their families which suppress their freedom. However, 18 years old Breshna, after being empowered by Zardozi, took a very different look at her life.
Breshna was born in a big family where her father’s decisions were influenced by her aunts and uncles that lived with them. She was able to finish her school but unfortunately was not allowed to continue her education even though she had passed the university entry exam, Kankor. Breshna said that, “my aunt had told my father that it is shameful for a big girl to go out of home; the village people will dishonor us, it is time for her to get married.”
Breshna continued, “I became very depressed sitting at home while hearing of my school friends going to universities and living up to their dreams. After some months, I heard that some people from an organization are facilitating trainings in different sectors near our home. I was very happy and convinced my parents to let me learn tailoring.”
Breshna’s father registered her name at Zardozi but people never stopped slandering and questioning their family’s dignity for working in organization. Breshna faced this problem particularly because of working in organization. The word and place “organization” has unhappy connotation among conservative Afghans as they have the general perception of women should not be working at offices especially when they know the organizations consists of both men and women working together. Therefore, Zardozi have built business centers in homes which makes it easy for women like Breshna to access advice and technical support as it is both near to their homes and there are fewer cultural hurdles involved in visiting a family home instead of an office.
Breshna who is now a mother of two children said that not only the society was against her work but her in laws too. She said, “My in laws complained I am a bad mother leaving my children and home alone, but Zardozi taught me what is best for me.” She continued with a smile, “Now through my earnings, I am preparing the best opportunities for my children.
I pay their tuition fees; make sure their school supplies are complete and I confirm that they are not disappointed if their clothes are not good than others. I want my children to be healthy and for that I and my husband earn enough to arrange better food.” Zardozi observed that after Breshna’s success, her mother in law also gradually started to support her.
Breshna’s perspective on life did not only change due to the tailoring and business trainings she received but the gender equality, civil society, vision, human & women rights workshops which enhanced her understanding of life.
Breshna tells us that, “women have realized that the trend of being a housewife is now changing with the change and need of the time. The prices are going up in bazar and my husband alone cannot meet all the needs of the family, therefore I have to support my husband financially.
When we asked how she has proven to be successful in managing both home tasks and work, she answered, “I feel very strong and active when I balance both work and home. After I prepare my kids in the morning, my husband rides them to kindergarten as well as brings them back home. Until I am away, my mother in-law takes care of my children. It is not just that, my spouse help me with household chores too. He is like a best friend and all families can similarly balance out their lives if there is a friendly and understanding environment between husband and wife.”