Baghlan residents receive training, tools to find work

By Muhammad Qasem

More than 500 Afghans, including 350 women, completed a six-month vocational skill training course on July 8 in Baghlan province with support from the World Food Programme (WFP). The women attended courses in tailoring, embroidery and handicrafts, while the men were trained in skills such as plumbing and vehicle repair. [Courtesy of Naweed Samadi]

KUNDUZ -- More than 500 men and women in Baghlan province have received the training and tools they need to find employment or start small businesses, as part of a programme designed to strengthen vulnerable households.

On July 8, 350 women and 150 men graduated from a six-month vocational skill training course in the provincial capital of Pul-e-Khumri, implemented with support from the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP).

The women learned tailoring, embroidery and handicrafts, while the men were taught plumbing and vehicle repair.

"Over 500 female and male trainees were enrolled in WFP's vocational skill training, which was launched in January," said Wajehullah Nayel, who heads the Afghanistan Social Improvement Organisation in Baghlan province.

Students at a June 3 vocational training session in the Baghlan provincial capital of Pul-e-Khumri learn vehicle repair skills. [Naweed Samadi]

Students at a June 3 vocational training session in the Baghlan provincial capital of Pul-e-Khumri learn vehicle repair skills. [Naweed Samadi]

Women learn to sew, free of charge, with support from the World Food Programme, during a June 22 training session in the Baghlan provincial capital of Pul-e-Khumri. [Naweed Samadi]

Women learn to sew, free of charge, with support from the World Food Programme, during a June 22 training session in the Baghlan provincial capital of Pul-e-Khumri. [Naweed Samadi]

"The no-cost training was aimed at women and men who have not been able to complete their education and were facing unemployment and economic problems," Nayel said.

The project's total budget, 30 million AFN ($340,000), was provided by the WFP, he said, and trainees also received a food package worth 7,000 AFN ($78).

"At the graduation ceremony, work tools such as sewing machines, irons, scissors and other equipment needed for each field were distributed to all trainees to enable them to improve their startup business," he said.

The training programme sought to strengthen the economic situation of vulnerable households and improve their food security, Nayel said, adding that the next round of the programme is expected to start soon.

'I had no other choice'

Baghlan University political science student Zarghoona Ahmadzai, who took part in the WFP's vocational training programme, told Salaam Times her father had hoped she would become a judge -- a hope that is as yet unfulfilled.

"I have lost the aspiration and interest to continue with my university studies and started learning embroidery as a profession," she said.

Hundreds of women and girls taking part in the programme used to work in different sectors before being forced to learn handicraft skills, Ahmadzai said.

Shamila Subhani, an 11th grade student in Pul-e-Khumri and a graduate of the training course, said she decided to learn tailoring as a profession after being prevented from going to school.

"The tailoring profession was not my favourite, and I was not interested in learning it," she said. "I wanted to become an engineer in the future."

"In order to support my family, I had no other choice but to join the six-month sewing course so that I can stitch women's clothes and earn a living," she said.

"I am determined to complete 12th grade, even if there is a long delay of several years. I simply cannot give up my education at any cost," she added.

"It bothers me a lot that I have been deprived of serving my compatriots and country," said Najia Qayoumi, a former employee of the provincial education department in Baghlan.

"I wish I could use my experience to build and develop my country," she told Salaam Times. "I have been confined at home for several months by restrictions. I had no other choice but to find ways to go out and work."

"Now that I have graduated from the vocational skill course, alongside other women, and learned embroidery, I can make a living in the future," she said.

Making a living

"Car repair is an incoming-generating profession," said Ali Sina, 32, who is providing for a family of five. "I was interested in this field, and I am glad that I have learned it professionally."

Sina, a graduate of the programme, said he plans open a shop in Pul-e-Khumri.

"I am so happy that I can support my family’s needs," he added.

Aseila Rahimi, who used to work in the private sector of Pul-e-Khumri, is now set on becoming an embroiderer.

"After I lost my job and income, my family faced severe poverty," she said. "I therefore had to learn embroidery, to be able to help them financially."

"The necessary tools for embroidery were provided at the end of the course by the training centre," she said. "I have learned professional embroidery skills."

"Going forward, I will be able to produce embroidery works at home and sell them in the market," Rahimi said.

Training programme graduates will be able to serve their communities and make a living for their families, said Abdul Matin Akhundzada, director of the Provincial Economic Directorate in Baghlan.

"We held several meetings with our partner organisations," he said. "They promised to launch new projects and create employment opportunities for women and men who are facing problems."

"We are exploring options to launch additional vocational training courses for women and men facing unemployment and poverty, so they can earn a living and become empowered and financially self-sufficient," Akhundzada said.

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Long-term works should be the focus, not short-term works. These aid institutions also cheat the people. They did not do such great construction work that people would be busy forever. They spend a few pennies here and a few there. Man, when you receive a project, you may use it to benefit the people permanently. In such projects, the people get busy only for a month, and in the second month, they remain empty-handed; however, if this same money is spent on fundamental works, I am sure that many more workers will be needed as time passes. Afghans have been getting aid from such organizations for years; however, no change has occurred in their life. It has only kept them alive; however, they still face a hundred types of difficulties.


Why the assisting organizations don’t focus on the creation of stable and permanent jobs instead of these temporary and unstable projects? For instance, why don’t they support people to make poultry farms that would benefit not only a certain group but the entire economy of the country? Indeed, these programs are currently useful for feeding the people and keeping them busy at least, but the people of Afghanistan have been receiving aid from aid organizations for the last 40 years. This has made the people of Afghanistan lazy. It has taken the spirit and motivation of work from them and has made the Afghan society needy and retreated. I thank all the activities of international aid organizations in Afghanistan and through your site, I ask them to work on some permanent programs. I hope the respected journalists of Salaam Times would convey our request to the representatives of these organizations. Thanks


This is very good and encouraging news. Thanks to WFP and its other partner organizations who reach the Afghans in such a dire situation. Nowadays the people of Afghanistan need to work and learn a profession instead of getting food assistance and free money so they can have their own stable work in the future without relying on the assistance of these NGOs, and can make a living and meet their basic needs. Recently it has been said that the world food organization (WFP) in cooperation with Kabul municipality has inaugurated another broad program for the beauty and greenness of Kabul city. In this program, each worker would get a certain amount of food in return for his work which would help him feed his family, it would also change the shape of Kabul city. I wish one day the people of Afghanistan would get over the need for International organizations and will stand on their feet and enjoy their life. With thanks.