'Seven Sisters' workshop provides training, income for Herat women

By Omar

Seven sisters in the western city of Herat have opened a handicraft workshop to provide work opportunities for women and girls, despite the ongoing education ban for Afghan women. The workshop, known as 'Seven Sisters', is supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), which has provided the sisters with sewing machines and other equipment. [Omar/Salaam Times]

HERAT -- A family of seven sisters has come together in Herat city to open a handicraft workshop to create work opportunities for a number of women and girls.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) supported the sisters' effort by providing sewing machines and other equipment.

Aziza Amini, 46, the eldest sister, manages the "Seven Sisters" workshop.

About 20 girls and women who are their families' breadwinners are working in the workshop, she said.

Women are seen July 22 in Mazar-e-Sharif, Balkh province, as they learn sewing for free. [Omar/Salaam Times]

Women are seen July 22 in Mazar-e-Sharif, Balkh province, as they learn sewing for free. [Omar/Salaam Times]

"We sisters established the workshop together seven months ago. We make local Afghan clothes for children, as well as socks and masks. Most of our trainees ... are university students who are deprived of education," she told Salaam Times on July 22.

"All of the girls and women working with us are the breadwinners of their families. In the current situation, most men are jobless and cannot provide for their families," she added.

Amini said she and her sisters hope to expand their workshop so they can recruit more girls and women and give them hope.

Zahra Amini, 41, another of the sisters, said women must support each other to save themselves from growing limitations.

"I am happy that we could create work opportunities for ourselves and other women outside their homes. Establishing this workshop seemed impossible to us, but we succeeded when we made up our minds and helped each other," she said.

"We are trying to create employment for skilled women who are suffering from unemployment. Women want to work in society and economically support their families," she added.

A glimmer of hope

Rahima Amini, 23, started working with her sisters after being banned from education.

A fifth-year dental student at Herat University, she was forced to stop going to school eight months ago after a ban on women's higher education.

The mental pressure of being deprived of education and separated from her classmates has been alleviated through learning tailoring, said Amini, who has been learning the skill over the past seven months.

"I cannot stay at home and watch my dreams being destroyed. I do not waste my time, and by learning how to tailor, I am acquiring a skill," she said.

"Education is our human and Islamic right, and we should no longer be deprived ... Schools and universities should be reopened immediately so Afghan girls can return to their studies."

"I call on all girls who are deprived of education not to lose hope and to continue working in society and learn skills until schools and universities reopen. We girls must turn these restrictions into opportunities to advance our knowledge," she said.

Setara Ahmadi, a ninth-grader in Herat city, has been learning tailoring at the Seven Sisters workshop for three months.

She said the workshop has brought a glimmer of hope into her dark life.

"When our school was closed, I stayed at home for a long time, suffering from depression and mental pressure. We used to go to school, and I was used to leaving home, but with the closure of schools, I was trapped at home like a prisoner," she added.

"Working here saved me from mental pressure and helped me forget my problems to an extent. I also support my family with the salary I receive every month," Setara said.

Supporting families

Khatera Afzali, 34, a mother of four, has been working at the Seven Sisters workshop for five months.

She earns 5,000 AFN ($58) every month and has been able to save her family from poverty and hunger.

Afzali said her husband used to work for a government organisation, but he lost his job and has since been unemployed.

"I am happy that I am able to work outside my home at a time when women are excluded from every aspect of life. Only women work here, and we are comfortable working together," she said.

"There should be no restrictions on women working in society. We women need to work to support our families. Staying home day and night and expecting others to provide for us are illogical," she added.

Afzali said she is proud of being the breadwinner of her family, and she will continue to work outside her home despite the restrictions.

Malika Nazari, 28, who was displaced from Badghis to Herat five months ago, is also now working in the Seven Sisters workshop.

"I used to work at an institute in Badghis, but lost my job because of the restrictions. I was forced to relocate to Herat from Badghis to save myself from poverty," she said.

"I am happy that I'm working in this workshop and have an income."

"My husband is unemployed, and our financial situation is not good. I pay the rent and provide my family's other expenses with the salary I earn here," she added.

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Afghan women and girls are facing a difficult situation, but it is a matter of happiness that we have such brave Afghan women in the country, who through their understanding and courage help the poor women of the country in this difficult situation. There are many Afghan women and girls. It is difficult in this difficult time, a little help for women is a good thing because most of the women are the breadwinners of their homes and there is no hope. Thanks to UNDP for helping with Seven Sister Workshop and giving hope to poor Afghan women.


The Taliban are happy to see even ordinary Europeans, Americans, Africans, Russians, and other tourists visiting Afghanistan, who may have some evil agenda and purpose besides tourism. They fill up the social media with the news about them. Ministers stand to welcome them; they provide them with vehicles, facilities, and guards; however, on the contrary, millions of elites and experts have fled the country. They threaten to return to Afghanistan and imprison them. They threaten and destroy them. They treat the foreign tourists this way to show that the security situation is better; they treat the people well and for similar purposes...


Believe me that here, every Afghan mother and sister is a fighter for rights and a hero, who in such difficult conditions and situations get some happiness for their families. The ruling system makes conditions more difficult for women and takes away all the possibilities of life from them. No one knows how much the women have harmed the ruling system now that their hatred is not getting melted. Thanks to the foreign organizations and a number of women fighters who have facilitated a small work for women's rights.


She has done excellent work as she has employed herself and 20 other women, but even after reading your news, authorities did not close this workshop. It is said that they were spreading obscenity. As they closed schools and universities on the pretext that prostitution was spreading, they will now close such places. And the lives of these women will intentionally face an economic threat. It is true that Salaam Times gives motivation and thought to other women to work, but if we look at it from the other side, it is possible as investigating such issues causes damage to someone...