UN provides vocational training, monthly salary for 120 women in Herat

By Omar

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has launched an initiative in Herat for 120 Afghan women of all ages who are displaced or are returning home after a period of displacement. The women taking part in the 'Making Afghanistan' initiative learn carpet weaving, embroidery, painting, miniature drawing and bag sewing. [Omar/Salaam Times]

HERAT -- The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) launched this year an initiative in Herat for 120 Afghan women of all ages who are displaced or are returning home after a period of displacement.

The women taking part in the "Making Afghanistan" initiative learn carpet weaving, embroidery, painting, miniature drawing and bag sewing.

The programme is implemented by a local nongovernmental organisation (NGO) called the Welfare Association for the Development of Afghanistan (WADAN).

The participants in the programme are the sole breadwinners of their households, said Hassan Khan Ahmadzai, director of WADAN in Herat.

Two internally displaced women embroider at a UNHCR-supported workshop in Herat on July 22. [Omar/Salaam Times]

Two internally displaced women embroider at a UNHCR-supported workshop in Herat on July 22. [Omar/Salaam Times]

"Besides technical and vocational training, every trainee receives a monthly salary of 7,000 AFN [$80] to support her family. Some participants have opened their own businesses after completing the training and are now making a living," he said.

"These women and girls will continue to receive support from our office after graduation. We try to find suitable markets for their hand-crafted products, both locally and abroad."

"We have launched an online sales platform, where customers get to order the items they want to buy," he added.

The purpose of the initiative is to support displaced women and returnees from neighbouring countries by providing employment for them and helping their families overcome poverty and destitution, he said.

Rescuing families from poverty

Marzia Haidary, 22, who was displaced from Bamiyan province to Herat two years ago, is taking part in "Making Afghanistan" and learning a new vocation.

She said her life was transformed since she has joined the programme seven months ago, adding, "We are six people in my family, and my father is old and cannot work. I am the only breadwinner."

"We face many economic challenges, but our life has improved very much since I have enrolled in the programme," she said.

In addition to covering their daily expenses, her income pays the rent and utility bills, Haidary said.

Sakina Mirzaei, 23, who was displaced from Daikundi province to Herat along with her family, has been learning carpet weaving through the initiative since last year.

"I am now earning enough to support my family," she said.

Fatema Rezaei, 30, who works in the programme's embroidery section, also said her family's economic situation has improved since she joined the programme.

"My husband is a day labourer and goes out to find work every morning but returns home empty-handed in the evening. He is able to find work only two days a month," she said.

"My work is very valuable to me and my family. I receive a monthly salary, and I'm able to buy food and other household items," she added.

'Many women need to work'

Afghan women need to work outside the home and contribute to the development of their country, to avoid sinking deeper into poverty, some say.

Fatima Ghulami, 32, who has four children, has been working as a member of the cleaning staff at a private company in Herat city for a year.

She has an associate degree and used to work in the Gender section of Herat's Directorate of Women's Affairs but lost her job in August 2021.

"I do not have a breadwinner in the household. If I don't work, who would feed my children?" said Ghulami, whose husband was a police officer who died on duty in Obe district, Herat province.

"There are many women like me who need to go out and work to save their families from poverty and starvation," she added.

"But unfortunately, Afghan society ignores women's desire to work outside the home. There are social restrictions on women that have caused many families to face poverty and starvation," Ghulami said.

The economic crisis has created poverty, affecting many households, said Parwana Toofan, a women's rights activist in Herat. Therefore, many women need to work to earn a living or participate in providing for their families' needs.

"Women have great potential in various sectors, especially handicrafts and commercial activities, and they should be provided with the opportunity to work."

"If women cannot work and men cannot find work, the family's economy will fall apart and poverty will prevail," she added.

No country has progressed without the strong presence of women in the economy, Toofan said, praising Afghan women for bravely facing restrictions to work despite all the obstacles.

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As the World Food Program calls Afghanistan one of the countries in the world whose people most need aid, our government is wasting its time on useless work. Yesterday, in this great misfortune of Afghanistan, the news was being whispered at the government level that the Taliban's Enjoining the Good and Forbidding the Evil directorate in Herat had collected and burned musical instruments. Many of the group's followers cheered, saying that this is a great thing, but aren't they aware of the situation of women in Afghanistan? People point fingers at our lousy situation and comment about it daily, but the Afghan rulers, who sit in TV or radio debates, only talk about women. Women should do this and that. Since they have taken over power, they speak just about the women; however, they do not give them even slight importance. They do not consider women as mothers, sisters, daughters, or wives. One is surprised to think whether the Taliban are born from donkeys or what?


This is a good news for the women of Herat province, because this project of United Nations can solve part of women's problems because of the difficult situation that Afghan women are going through, and the reason is that, in most of the families, women are without guardians and they have lost their husbands, fathers, brothers and relatives during the years of war. For this reason, they are the breadwinners of their families, and now all the gates are closed on Afghan women, and the poor women are involved in difficult problems. It is a matter of happiness that Afghan women have the ability to make handicrafts and they have good capacities. This way they can help themselves and their country.


Because lithium is needed in everything from household utensils to ships and from pacemakers to mobile laptop batteries in the human heart. Speaking to Voice of America, he said that the power of machines in the world, i.e. battery, is impossible without lithium and now the vehicles are also powered by charging batteries and the use of lithium is key. More lithium is going to be needed. Where is the lithium? There is a lithium triangle in the world known as the "Lithium Triangle" and it is located in Argentina, Chile and Bolivia. But Afghanistan is now also being counted in the lithium triangle. In 2019, a document titled "Mining Sector Road Map 2019" was handed over to former Afghan President Dr. Ashraf Ghani by the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum. This document stated that there are three trillion dollars worth of minerals in Afghanistan. According to this document, in addition to two thousand seven hundred kilograms of gold, two billion metric tons of iron and three million metric tons of copper, there are more than four million metric tons of rare earth minerals in Afghanistan. Includes lithium and uranium. Geologist Dr. Yasin said that lithium and other minerals are available across the Afghan border. According to him, "After confirmed research in Afghanistan, it has been found that there are large lithium deposits in the border mountains of Nuristan, Kunar and Badakhshan. For the latest words, the Afghan mines are facing more risk of looting by Pakistan and China.


Later in the year 2001, all these records were handed over to the Directorate of Geological Survey of Afghanistan. Thus, in 2004, after the joint efforts of US Geological Survey (USGS) and Afghan Geological Survey (AGS) explored this record, the world came to know that there are lithium deposits in Afghanistan. In 2007, a three-dimensional record of underground minerals was collected by the British Bomber to detect underground deposits. In 2009, a team from Iraq arrived in Afghanistan under the guidance of the US Department of Defense Pentagon and prepared a report regarding these mineral reserves and presented it to former Afghan President Hamid Karzai. A special review of lithium reserves was presented in this report. In 2010, Afghan and American experts took this work further and in 2010, 24 different places were identified in the 34 provinces of Afghanistan where there was an abundance of minerals and it was found that lithium deposits are also present in many provinces. In the light of the same reports, China signed several agreements with the former Afghan government, one of which was for working on copper deposits in the Afghan province of Logar. In 2008, two Chinese companies made this agreement for 30 years for three billion dollars. Why is lithium important? Dr. Yasin, a geologist working on mineral resources in the region, says that if lithium is called the gold of the 21st century, it would not be out of place.


Afghanistan is facing this bad fate at a time as the country has a lot of underground sources, while there is no one to help the nation get the wealth. In the meantime, the greedy neighbors especially Pakistan and China are counting moments to get the chance of looting the underground Afghan sources. Based on a report, In Afghanistan, the Taliban is facing security and economic problems, as well as the problem of protecting and properly mining natural minerals worth 3 trillion dollars. In Afghanistan, there are lithium reserves called the gold of the 21st century, which the whole world, especially China, is looking at. In January this year, the Afghan Taliban foiled an attempt by some Chinese nationals to smuggle lithium. As soon as Russia came to Afghanistan, it started exploring the mineral deposits there. For the first time, during the geological survey in 1984, Russia found out that there are vast deposits of lithium in Afghanistan, but this information remained a secret until the Afghan government started working after the arrival of the American coalition forces. According to the information listed on the website of the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum of Afghanistan, due to the civil war of 1992, all the records and maps of the Afghanistan Geological Survey were removed from the directorate of the department under the direction of Dr. Mir Akbar Khan and stored in the homes of the employees of the Afghanistan Geological Survey.


In general, some communities promote vocational training and small businesses in order to develop. It is a great work that the international community provides such a way for women in the country. By doing this, not only women and their families stand on their own feet, but they also gain psychological confidence and live their lives happily.


As a whole, a society's promotion and development are caused by such vocational training. It is excellent work that the international community in the country provides such a way for women to work. With this, not only do the women and their families stand on their feet, but also they become psychologically confident and will lead their lives happily.