Balkh entrepreneur provides job opportunities for dozens of women

By Muhammad Qasem

Forty women are receiving training in tailoring and clothes making at Khaawar vocational centre in Mazar-e-Sharif, Balkh province, pictured here on March 9. [Muhammad Nasir Almas/Salaam Times]

Forty women are receiving training in tailoring and clothes making at Khaawar vocational centre in Mazar-e-Sharif, Balkh province, pictured here on March 9. [Muhammad Nasir Almas/Salaam Times]

MAZAR-E-SHARIF -- Habiba Amini, director of the Khaawar vocational centre, is an example of how one person can lift dozens of others out of economic and moral despair.

After witnessing a rise in economic problems that women were facing in Balkh province, Amini established a tailoring training centre at the Rabia Balkhi Market in the provincial capital, Mazar-e-Sharif.

In mid-February she recruited 40 women to participate in the tailoring and clothes' manufacturing training. The training course is three months long and is free to participants.

"Ten women are recruited by the manufacturing section and 30 in the tailoring and embroidery training section," she said. "They all work every day."

Professional trainers first teach them how to sew and then train them in marketing and sales, Amini explained.

Forced to stay home because of the COVID-19 pandemic, many women lost their jobs, she said. For some, it was their families' only source of income.

Women used to work in various government agencies, international organisations and the private sector, where they were able to earn enough to provide for their families, Amini said.

"The objective of establishing this centre was to ensure the self-reliance of female teachers, students, former government employees and female heads of household who have lost their sources of income," she said.

The Khaawar centre will start distributing the products the women are creating after they finish training and will distribute the income from the sale of the handicrafts back to those women, Amini said.

Female heads of household unemployed

The women learning to make clothes say they are happy to see the establishment of the centre and that they will be able to cover part of their household expenses.

"I lost my job almost seven months ago," said Zahra Taheri, a former employee of the Balkh Department of Women's Affairs. "Since I've always liked making clothes, I came here to learn professional tailoring so I could become a home-based seamstress in the future."

"I have been learning tailoring and embroidery here for almost a month now," she said on March 16. "I will be able to sell my handiwork and make ends meet once I learn tailoring."

"I am the head of my household, and my children are young. We had a very tough time in the past seven months, and no one helped us," she added. "Now I have to learn something so I can raise my children properly."

Some men have also lost their jobs because of the recent developments in the country, forcing their wives to work.

"My husband was a government employee, but he lost his job after the fall of the previous government, leaving our family's economic situation in very bad shape," said Urmila Azizi, a former employee of a private organisation. She did not disclose further details about her previous job.

"My family members will save the money they spend on tailors every month once I am able to sew their clothes," she said. "We could use that money for our daily expenses."

"We try to at least make ends meet so that we won't have to ask anyone for assistance," she added.

'Women need to work in society'

Sediqa Qaderi, a former literature student at Balkh University, said she has lost interest in her studies and no longer wants to go to the university.

She is one of the women participating in the training at Khaawar.

"Now, I want to develop my career in tailoring and embroidery so that I will be able to learn something and sew good clothes for other women in the future," she said.

"I had the ambition to work outside the house alongside my brothers toward the development and progress of this country in the future, but things moved in the opposite direction," she said.

"Unemployed women who head their own household come under great pressure and have many problems and hardships in providing for themselves and their families," she added.

Women can play an active role in developing Afghanistan and furthering its welfare if their rights are respected, said Zahra Sediqi, a resident of Mazar-e-Sharif and a student at Khaawar.

"Women suffer greatly after losing a male head of the family," she said. "If they have children, they end up taking care of and providing for the children. They have to take on responsibilities as sole guardians."

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I follow all the reports. It can be seen that educated girls and women are pushed back to the period of illiteracy after several years of studying. The girls study and work hard for many years so that in the future they will work in government or non-governmental organizations, and each of these girls have dreams and interests in studying at the universities to get a master's degree and a doctorate or bachelor's degree. After all, sitting behind the sewing machine, what fairness is this? From this, it is clear that other girls should not study anymore. They should learn to sew from the very beginning. Why should one spend time for years? Why should they get educated? There is no point in educating girls. In Afghanistan, where girls study, they face many problems. It is not easy to educate girls in the Afghan society. When a girl leaves to go to school, they hear a hundred insults and mess from boys. I am proud that the women who were fired of their duties learned embroidery and sewing in the vocational training course. If the educated women of Afghanistan sit behind the sewing machines after many years, no girl should study anymore. They may better learn tailoring at their home rather than get education.


Praises to the initiative and motives of this female entrepreneur. If many people do the same, the economic problems of Afghans will be solved to a great extent. Instead of creating problems and obstacles for women, the government should provide facilities for them. The people do not expect much from the Taliban, if they do not create obstacles for the people and do not impose too many restrictions on them, this will be enough.


This is excellent news. If people have opportunities, they may work better. Many people in Afghanistan have money but do not work. If this money is invested, it would be to their advantage, but many other people would also be involved in it, and they will earn their livelihood from it. Afghans who are now in a state of poverty and poor economic conditions if they pass, I am sure that they will be self-sufficient, and very few will need others' help. Ms. Amini has employed dozens of women with very few possibilities. If big business emerges in such a field, I am sure that on one side, the items will be produced at home, and on the other side, they will hire people. These activities will prevent murders, robberies, thefts, corruption, vandalism, and dozens of other major and minor crimes. May such news increase.


Absolutely right