They are uneducated but not uncreative. Give an Afghan woman the right support and tools and see what she is capable of. She will give it her all, once she is awakened, and once she has realized her potential and power to transform her life.
With all the women that Zardozi works with, in four different provinces, majority of them are young women and girls who have started to challenge the current status quo and contribute to the economies of their families. They are becoming the bread-winners at their homes and work shoulder by shoulder with their husbands and fathers.
Roqia from a small village of Mazar-e-Sharif is running a small food business. While her husband drives taxi during the day, Roqia is drying and packaging spaghetti with the equipment she had received from another organization who had first introduced her to the idea of producing spaghetti and making a living out of it. Lack of good marketing skills to sell her word and product brought Roqia to Zardozi where she learned the ways and techniques to improve her pre-existing business. Participating in exhibitions organized by Zardozi and attracting more customers is what Roqia says is making her product find a place in the market these days.
Ms. Roqia says that she used to lead a group of 30 women and together produced spaghetti to the market but after a year, the group dissolved and she was not able to make enough money as she could as a group. “Some women left because of family problems while others started to work individually. The reduction in the rate of production distorted my economic situation at home. The moment my neighbours spoke about the impact of Zardozi on their lives, I and my husband saw this as an opportunity,” explained Roqia.
A home that used to have 7,000 Afghanis income per month, Roqia and her husband now together makes $300 every month to run the 9 members family. Although, $300 is not a substantial amount of money to cover most of the expenses of a family, for Roqia this is a big achievement since she gained back her confidence and earned the right skills to do better in her business. At the meanwhile, she has also hired 7 more women who work with/for her. This has not only helped her increase her production rate but provide job opportunities for other women as well.
“I am very thankful to God for all its giving. The second person I am grateful to is my husband who is with me in every step of my life and helps me with my business. I am lucky to have all of these opportunities.”