Vital Job-Skills Training for 500 Afghan Women

by Women for Women International

Zia Gul is a 27 year old mother of four children; three sons and one daughter. Her husband works as Ragman. Zia Gul was uneducated and a housewife but through WFWI was offered the unique opportunity to learn about women rights, health, business, and the rights of children from WWI training programs. WWI introduced Zia Gul to Safi Apparel Corporation and now Zia Gul is busy as a tailor, earning 65 dollars a month. Zia Gul is happy to now economically support her family. She has faced many difficulties in her life but now feels relieved because of the sustainable income Safi Company awards her every month. She hopes that WWI will expand their activities so more women can be helped. Zia Gul thanks Women for Women International and says "Allah keeps Women for Women International successful so that more and more women of Afghanistan can be helped in the right way."

One very important part of WfWI's vocational training skills program is the trainers. Read on to learn about Zia Gul, a WfWI job skills trainer who teaches WfWI program participants how to knit. Her students learn a vital skill which enables them to earn an income to send their children to school.

Zia, a 45 year-old wife and mother, came to Women for Women International-Afghanistan's office holding one pair of knitted socks. She, like most women in Afghanistan, suffered under the Taliban regime, where women were not allowed to attend school or work; appear in public without a burqa; use cosmetics; play sports; wear bright colors; or even laugh out loud.

She struggled to support her 7 children and husband, who was debilitated from a heart attack. Women attending classes at our offices watched Zia as she knitted socks and asked questions. It soon became apparent that many women wanted to learn how to knit like Zia. Zia was hired by Women for Women International-Afghanistan as one of our first vocational skills trainers. Zia is pleased to share her knowledge, "I earn money for my family and share my skills with other women. I am proud to teach others."

Wahida and her children
Wahida and her children

Meet Wahida, a graduate of WfWI. During her year-long holistic training program with WfWI, Wahida learned basic cosmetic skills, and now runs a beauty parlor in her home, allowing her to finance her children's education. Wahida is determined to fight for her children, both her sons and daughters, to ensure they have the best future possible. 

Wahida is a mother in Afghanistan who runs a beauty parlor in her home that she was able to start with training from Women for Women International. With her neighbors and other women as customers, Wahida is able to earn 3,000AFN or 60.00 USD each month despite the lack of security, which can make it difficult to travel outside.

Wahida's experiences of war in her country have been nothing but hardship, and she dreams of the happiness that peace will bring. Wahida says, "My only wish is for my children, to see them educated and finish university." She hopes that despite all the challenges she's faced, it will be worth it to see her children graduate. Each day, Wahida works very hard in order to help her children be successful and happy.

As for herself, Wahida says she has not had very many happy moments in her life. For Wahida, "Seeing that a wife and husband are talking to each other, talking about love, and they are living in a very peaceful environment, this is when I feel happy. When I see that their children are playing with their fathers, this is a kind of happiness for me. My little girl always tells me that, 'Mom, I want to go to the market and buy a father and bring him home to never ever fight with you and always love you.'"

Wahida hopes that all mothers will allow their daughters the freedom to grow up and will not force them to marry while they are still children. She believes all mothers have a responsibility to their daughters, especially to ensure they go to school. Within her own family, Wahida faces opposition to sending her daughters to school from those who believe it is a shame. But for Wahida, her sons and daughters are the same, and she is determined to give her daughters the education that she never had.

A group of students in a stone polishing class.
A group of students in a stone polishing class.

Meet Azada, a graduate of WfWI. During her year-long holistic training program with WfWI, Azada learned how to cut gem stones to make jewlery, allowing her to find a job after graduation so she could support her family. Learning a vocational school and being able to support herself and her family has provided her with a massive sense of accomplishment. Go Azada!

Azada was 14 when her father asked her to marry a cousin of hers; hoping, as is common in some forms of Islam, that a relative would treat her better than a stranger. It wasn’t the case.

Azada had two daughters with her husband, and wondered how she’d ever be able to escape his abuse. Finally her father agreed she should divorce, and she lived with him in Pakistan, performing difficult and low-paying labor to survive, until the Taliban fell in 2001.

Upon her return to Kabul with her family, Azada enrolled in Women for Women International’s sponsorship program and learned to cut semi-precious stones for jewelry. Now she teaches other women the skills she acquired with Women for Women International. Her most prized possession is her certificate of employment. “I never thought that I would have the opportunity to support myself without a man,” Azada says. “Now... I am doing it!”

Pashton at work
Pashton at work

Meet Pashton, a graduate of WfWI. During her year-long holistic training program with WfWI, Pashton learned new tailoring skills, allowing her to find a job after graduation so she could support her family.

Pashton is a 35 year old widow who lost her husband in the war. She is now the single mother of six children; three sons and three daughters. Before Pashton was busy as a tailor but experienced countless economic difficulties. Pashton was introduced to the Woman for Women office and now feels happy because she is once again an active woman in the community.

Pashton is working with the Safi Apparel Corporation and is discovering new tailoring skills. Pashton is very intelligent and a diligent worker. She is so thankful for Women for Women International. Pashton says "I had many difficulties and now by the grace of Allah have few. I am taking my 75 dollar salary from Safi Apparel Corporation in the merciful Allah because now my life condition is better then previous."

She is able to send her six children to school and is so grateful to WWI for providing her with this unprecedented opportunity of working at the Safi Apparel Corporation.


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Organization Information

Women for Women International

Location: Washington, DC - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Lyndsay Booth
Online Marketing Coordinator
Washington, DC United States

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Thanks to 246 donors like you, a total of $25,732 was raised for this project on GlobalGiving. Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

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