Women's Rights

From journalism student to tailor: Kabul woman creates jobs, inspires others

By Hamza

Young women at Rah-e-Danish tailoring vocational workshop in Kabul learn sewing on January 23. [Hamza/Salaam Times]

Young women at Rah-e-Danish tailoring vocational workshop in Kabul learn sewing on January 23. [Hamza/Salaam Times]

KABUL -- A woman in Kabul has established a tailoring workshop for girls and women looking to expand their opportunities after many lost their jobs or were forced to stop their education.

Husna Raoufi, 23, was a senior journalism student at Kabul University until about a year ago.

"With the recent changes, the right to education was unfortunately taken from me and other women," she said. "A month and a half ago, I started a tailoring vocational workshop called Rah-e-Danish to create jobs for myself and other women as well as to offer training opportunities for female students."

A total of five teachers are training 10 students in tailoring, embroidery and weaving, she said.

So far, production and sales have been good and she hopes to expand the project, she added.

"On the one hand, we are trying to expand our business to create more vocational tailoring and work opportunities for more women, and on the other hand to inspire women who are staying at home to return to society," Raoufi said.

"Right now in the tailoring workshop, female students, poor women and those who have no male breadwinners are busy learning and working," she said. "The doors are open to all women who want to learn tailoring."

Improving household economies

The women training and working at Rah-e-Danish have welcomed its establishment.

"I was a junior student of sharia jurisprudence at Kabul University when I was deprived of education ... and like girls from two decades ago, I was isolated from society and confined to my house," said Toba Qodusi, 21.

"But I came to this workshop a month ago and trained in tailoring. I am supposed to start my new profession as a tailor in a month," she said on January 23.

"By starting my new profession, I will be able to support my family and contribute to the improvement of my economic situation as well as that of society," Qodusi said.

"Women make up half of society. If half of society is removed, society will be destroyed," said Mariam Arvin, a women's rights activist.

"Many women in our country are the breadwinners of their families. Their children will die from hunger and cold if the right to work is taken from them forever."

"Establishment of such workshops is a good opportunity for girls and poor households," she said. "By learning tailoring or any other profession, they will not only financially support their families but also remain active in society and improve the economy."

Worries for the future

Confronted by a ban on education for girls above grade six and a suspension on higher education for women, female students have turned to various vocations to support their families.

Tamana Osman, 27, has a law degree and used to work for one of the Afghan ministries. She lost her job after August 2021.

"I have been training in tailoring for a month [at Rah-e-Danish] so that I will be able to earn a living through this for my family in the future," she said.

"As an educated Afghan girl, I call [on authorities] ... to withdraw the restrictions on Afghan girls and women," Osman said.

"I am worried about my future," said Mursal Yousufi, 16, a 10th grader from Kabul and another trainee at Rah-e-Danish.

"If I am not given permission to continue my education and ... realise my dream of becoming a doctor ... I want to learn a vocation," she said. "Therefore, I have been training to learn tailoring and embroidery so that at least I can start a small business of producing Afghan dresses in the future."

She also urged authorities "to please open the doors of schools and universities to Afghan girls and women and give them permission to study and work".

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The best and most sensible people are those who study and want to learn a skill. Afghan women are courageous women. In such difficult conditions, when a new ban on women is imposed every day by the Taliban government, they still do not lose their courage and are looking for bread for their families and do whatever they can. The greatest service to Afghan women is to teach them a profession so that they stay and work in their homes. The ruling system must create a market for such women and sell their handicrafts or hand-woven items in the market at a reasonable price.


Brilliant work


I salute this woman's thinking. On the one hand, I was saddened that these women were left out of education, but on the other hand, I am happy that they have found an alternative way for themselves based on their talent. It is a good idea to learn arts and crafts without education. May God change the government's thinking and open the doors of schools and universities for girls. Unfortunately, the current rulers of Afghanistan have neither studied at university nor school. They have only studied in seminaries established by Pakistan's intelligence agencies, which are neither aware of modern life nor the importance of knowledge. These people do not even know the message of the Qur'an because the first verse of the Qur'an revealed is Iqra (read); however, they prevent reading and writing and the acquisition of knowledge in general.


Education is critical. Education should not be so that a person can indeed be appointed to a government position, but education means that you are wiser than others and one comes out of ignorance. With education, a person should understand that he can do and control everything, think better than anyone else about a subject and work, and find an easy and cheap way to live and survive. In this report, a good example is Hasna Raufi, who changed her lifestyle. If one method is closed for her, she thinks of another way. Unfortunately, most of our young people believe that education means becoming a teacher in a school, becoming an official... It is true that people also do these duties, but if it is assumed that government posts cannot be found, then one should sit at home. No, never. There are many tasks, so many jobs require thinking. I wish the youth to think about living, earn money and make a living. Learn it from Husna Raufi and take it into practice.


Instead of working under someone else, it would be better to use such tools, if possible, so that you and a few others can be busy. It isn't easy to work under the orders of others in a country where most leaders are unaware of the labor law and do not practice it. If the employee is in any situation, the boss would ask him to work and forces the employee to do the job, while the employee's rights are well explained in the labor law. May Husna Raufi's work get accelerated and she be successful.


An experienced woman who is skilled in sewing can choose a house in the street and train ten girls to sew. Nothing can be done by sitting at home. Women who were students or were in government departments or educated, may try to learn a profession until that a decision is being made by the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan regarding the share of Afghan women. Instead of sitting at home, it is better for women to do something rather than to sit at home.