UNDP provides vocational training to hundreds of Kunduz women

By Muhammad Qasem

A six-month vocational training course in Kunduz province, funded by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), is providing some 440 vulnerable and needy women with tailoring skills. [Courtesy of Obaidullah Ahmadi]

KUNDUZ -- A six-month vocational course in Kunduz province, an initiative launched by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), is providing hundreds of vulnerable and needy women with tailoring skills.

Some 440 women who have no income are taking part, said Azizurrahman Tasal, director of ActionAid's Abadi Project, which holds the sewing classes.

The course started in October and will end in April 2023, he said on December 20.

"The UNDP has financed the project ... there are 16 sewing classes in the centre in Kunduz and six in Imam Sahib district, with an instructor and as many as 20 trainees in each class," he said.

Women attend a sewing course funded by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Kunduz city on December 20. [Obaidullah Ahmadi/Salaam Times]

Women attend a sewing course funded by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Kunduz city on December 20. [Obaidullah Ahmadi/Salaam Times]

The purpose of the project is to help trainees become self-reliant and to help them meet the needs of their families, said Tasal.

"In addition to offering practical and theoretical lessons, we pay each trainee 6,000 AFN ($68) monthly ... until they graduate," he said.

"After acquiring the skills, trainees will be able to sew different types of clothes for women and they can work from home ... each trainee will receive a complete set of tailoring tools for free so she can work independently from home," he added.

All of the women taking part in the course are impoverished or widowed, said Fatima Karimi, 37, a sewing class instructor in Rostaq Abad neighbourhood of Kunduz city.

"There are 20 students in my class. I am teaching them practically and theoretically. They have learned a lot over the past month," she said.

Her students are enthusiastically trying to learn professional sewing skills, she added.

"I am sure if they open their own shops or work from home in the future, their businesses will thrive."

"Afghan women have extraordinary talent in all fields. They can earn a living and not be a burden to others if employment opportunities are provided to them," she said.

Acquiring skills, fighting poverty

Fariba Azami, 26, a resident of Kunduz city, expects to earn a living for her family of four after graduating from the vocational course.

"I have spared no effort over the past month to become a skilled tailor and to be able to earn a living for my family in the future," she said on December 20.

Azami's husband died after an illness two years ago, and she is now the only breadwinner of her household.

"I used to cook at a local organisation ... to support my family. I lost my job over 18 months ago," she said.

"I have properly learned how to use scissors and cut clothes and will be able to make good dresses next month, inshallah."

"We work here from 8am to 12pm every day. We cut fabric and then sew to make clothes during this period ... they are teaching us all the steps of making clothes," said Farzana Amini, 24, another participant.

"I lost my father when I was a child. I have five sisters and a brother. My mother is ill, and [my sisters and I] have joined hands to work together and earn a living," she added.

"I used to teach kindergarten ... I was making enough money, but everything fell apart a year and a half ago. Now I have no other choice but to learn sewing," she said.

The majority of attendees in the training course are orphaned girls, women without a male head of household, or women whose husbands are addicted to drugs, Amini said.

"I will try my best to learn sewing skills soon and be able to earn a living for my family. It is very difficult for women to work outside the house under the current circumstances, but I have to endure the challenge," she said.

Increasing restrictions

Afghan women face increasing restrictions every day, including deprivation of chances for work and education, said Abdul Hadi Samadi, a resident of Kunduz province.

"The more women are sidelined from social activities, the more challenges shall arise in our society. Women make up half of society, and they equally, like men, have the right to work outside the home and seek education," he said.

"Afghan women have proved that they shall never give up but will continue their struggle and fight under any condition."

"Our expectation of the United Nations and the international community is to support Afghan women and not let them go backward to the dark days of the past," he added.

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I have been working in charge of the media department of an educational institution for the past two years. During this period, I have not come across anything that can be called debauchery or prostitution. I can't dare to think that someone's sister and daughter would be disgraced. In my tenure, I have not seen a single female student who entered the university without a veil or a hijab or walked around the university bare-faced. Education is the right of Afghan women and girls and a necessity for the progress of society, but the Taliban took away women's right to education. They took away the right to work and raise their voice, and in general, they stopped the development of Afghanistan. They don't let Afghanistan make progress, but they are doing things that have taken the country back for centuries.


This program of the United Nations (UNDP) in the current situation of Afghanistan where all the women and girls of Afghanistan have been removed from their duties, and the girls are not even allowed to study, and the gates of the universities have been closed for now is very impressive. The 440 women in the tailoring training course program in Kunduz province, as all of them are poor or widows, can sew professionally after graduation. These women from the same profession, who have learned from the United Nations (UNDP) can prepare food for their families and relieve them from the need of others. UNDP In Kunduz Province has started sewing training for 440 women, and after graduation, these women will be given sewing tools for free and a salary of AFN 6,000. If the United Nations will start such development programs in all provinces of Afghanistan, it will be better than the food distribution they do to the people, as it does not reach the beneficiaries and widows, so compared to this food distribution and financial aid program, it would be better to strengthen the development and launch educational programs. Educational and development programs have a bright future compared to the aid food items. This United Nations (UNDP) program is appreciated.