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.