Somewhere in a small village of Mazar-e-Sharif, a big sign board outside a not very big shop covered with glamorous pictures of women having had their hair, makeup and nails nicely done, beats much of the negative stereotypes held against beauty parlours like Ms. Nadira.
Nadira is one of Zardozi’s oldest clients. She started receiving business trainings in different sectors in 2015. But her love for makeup, making sophisticated hairstyles and doing Heena motivated her to take more lessons in this area. She saved her money to complete her only one wish- opening a big beauty salon facilitated with a lot of tools and equipments. After saving money through tailoring and loan from Zardozi, she was finally able to open her village’s first salon this year in March.
But Nadira’s initiative created some sort of concerns among the male dominated community. She was confronted by a lot of men asking her father to close her shop, because it was against the Afghan tradition and their values. However, the women were happy because now they could fix their make-up by a professional and look more beautiful when attending parties or getting done their weekly eyebrows and hands waxing.
“Very few women were coming to the parlour in the first two months, “said Nadira. “I couldn’t make a lot out of it which was disappointing. I had waited my whole life for this dream to come true but I also couldn’t give up this early.”
Although Nadira’s first two months were filled with distress and frustration, few weeks later she saw that more women felt the need to go to her place but due to family restrictions they couldn’t. Hamida who lives near to Nadira’s house says that she secretly went out to cut her hair at Arayeshgah Zebaye Jahan- the name of Nadira’s salon. “It takes time until people get used to accepting new things,” said Hamida. Currently, her income is greater than before but not as much as what Nadira expects it to be.
Nadira keeps trying until she makes it since there is always hope for progress she believes.
What’s interesting is that unlike many other girls who get married in their teenage years; 26-years-old Nadira is still undecided about marriage and having kids. “I want to have a good future for myself. People say nobody will marry me because a woman’s beauty goes away with age, but I don’t listen to them. I want to work hard and become independent first,” explained Nadira why she was not thinking about getting married yet. Today, Nadira is living her one and only dream. Her strong motivation keeps her going.