Women in Afghanistan are in general, regarded as secondary to men and as a result of this cultural bias which permeates all aspects of family life, they tend to fully internalise the belief that they are less intelligent, less emotionally stable and less competent than men. In addition Afghan women are too often uneducated and because they may never have interacted with males or even females outside the extended family, they feel unable to cope with being in public on their own. They are therefore confined to their homes not only by culture but by their own fears and feelings of inadequacy.
Achieving an independent income with the facilitation of Zardozi, is therefore a complete eye opener for these women – turning them from silent dependents with few rights, to significant members of the family on whom others depend not only for basic needs but also for decisions.
In addition to facilitating business linkages for these women Zardozi also invests resources in promoting their self-confidence, aspiration and ambition through simple strategies such as celebrating the more successful Zardozi business women.
Quotes from Zardozi business women
Farida, Jalalabad – after she and her husband attended the celebration of the success of another woman
“Now [after the celebration of successful Zardozi business women] my husband delivers my products for me even when it is raining or in the heat of mid-summer. I feel confident that the men in the family support me and I can increase my business.”
Nasima, Kabul – mother of 12 children who was blind for 7 days after the birth of her 12th child
“In Kabul [before finding Zardozi] me and my family used to eat only boiled potatoes everyday… I am happy [now] to be able to feed my children and buy them clothes and shoes. I never had enough money to be treated [during pregnancy and birth of 12 children] but now with my income I had an operation and I won’t get pregnant again.”
Sohila, Mazar e Sharif – after attending the celebration of the success of another woman
“Before this event I would not have believed that a woman could have such as income. I thought that I am nothing and cannot do anything but she is not educated or wealthier than me. Looking at her I realise that it could be me. Why don’t I also believe in myself and work like her. She achieved all this with the help of Zardozi and I also have the opportunity to work with Zardozi.”
Amena and Halima, Herat – working together to set up a tailoring business
“Zardozi training has given us the courage and confidence to strive for a better income and to believe we can work together.”