Sister-owned clothing store in Kabul creates jobs for 15 female students

By Hamza

Woman entrepreneurs hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony on July 22 to open a women's clothing store in Kabul. [Hamza/Salaam Times]

Woman entrepreneurs hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony on July 22 to open a women's clothing store in Kabul. [Hamza/Salaam Times]

KABUL -- Three girls in Kabul have opened a women's clothing store that employs 15 young former students.

The store, which includes a tailoring workshop, a women's clothing shop and online sales, aims to create an enabling environment for women who have lost their jobs and for girls deprived of education.

The store is owned by three sisters who saw an opportunity to help other women and girls amid recent restrictions on women in public life and the closure of girls' schools.

The sisters, who are all in their 20s, said they were inspired by the stories of other women who had started businesses to support themselves and their families.

Farahnaz Farebarz, 24, said she and her two sisters worked for three months on the design of the store and on July 22 inaugurated it alongside their women's clothing brand, "Harir".

"A number of women and girls work at the store in the clothing design, tailoring, embroidery and sales departments," she said.

"Girls and women both in the country and abroad are interested in Afghan clothes," Farebarz said. "In addition to in-store sales in Kabul, we have also started our online sales and try to sell internationally."

"Unfortunately, the economic situation of our people is deteriorating day by day," she said. "Our objective in establishing this store is to create business opportunities for women and girls who may not work or study because of restrictions."

This effort will prevent their isolation in society and alleviate household economic problems, she said.

"In the first days of the store, we were able to create business opportunities for 15 girls who are deprived of education and women who have lost their jobs because of the restrictions," Farebarz said.

Afghan girls' potential

"Every day, restrictions and bans are being imposed on girls and women," said Alia Harir, 23, another of the sisters and a graduate in Pashto literature from Kabul University.

"We three girls decided that by establishing a clothing brand, we would remove these restrictions from ourselves ... and create business opportunities for ourselves and other women and girls," she said.

"We work for all girls and women of our country," Harir said. "Girls and women in our country are highly talented, creative and capable. All of the clothes seen here today are made by our team composed of girls and women banned from work and education."

"We believe in the capabilities of our country's girls and women," she added. "If, God willing, we will succeed, we are trying to expand our business to other provinces too to create employment for more girls and women deprived of work and education."

Seema Ahmadi, 25, was a student at a private university in Kabul until the political changes in the country two years ago forced her to end her studies.

Now she works in the sisters' clothing shop.

"I would have become a dentist in two years if girls had not been banned from education," she said. "It is very painful that I could not achieve my dream, but I am happy to have a job and to be active again in society at a time when girls and women are not allowed to work."

Shabnam Ghafoori, 21, another employee of the store, is a high school graduate who could not continue her studies because of the ban on girls' higher education.

"I am very happy to have the opportunity to work ... I can sell my handmade dresses here and provide for my family," she said.

"I call on other girls not to trap themselves at their homes and, like us, come and work outside homes," she added.

Interest in business

Over the past two years, women's interest in business and private sector activities has increased, particularly following the closure of girls' schools, according to the Afghanistan Women's Chamber of Commerce and Industry (WCCI).

"Interest in business has increased among women and girls in the past two years," said Salma Yusufzai, chief executive officer of the WCCI. "[The number of] women and girls starting businesses have increased by 30% from last year."

"Women play a critical role in trade, investment and economic development of the country," she said.

"We are trying to establish permanent and specific markets for women in various provinces because women's businesses prevent their exclusion from society and their being trapped at home. They [the businesses] help improve households' economic situation."

Afghan women have welcomed the initiative, especially in light of the ongoing restrictions on women in society, including the recent closure of beauty parlors.

Since August 2021, girls and women have been barred from high schools and universities; banned from parks, funfairs and gyms; and ordered to cover up in public.

Women have also mostly been barred from working for the United Nations (UN) or non-governmental organizations, and thousands have been sacked from government jobs or are being paid to stay at home.

Economists estimate that 60,000 women have lost their source of income after the closure of beauty parlors.

"Girls and women have the right to work and study," said Khatera Dedar, 40, a visitor to the Harir store.

"Many women in our country are breadwinners for their families," she said. "The establishment of such stores is a good opportunity for women and girls. They can provide for their families through this and help improve the country's economy."

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To the beautiful Afghan schoolgirl; Greetings and respect to you for reading this small but meaningful letter. Yes, this letter is for you. I know you understand; we believe in patience, mercy, and compassion. It is the era of repression, and in this era, no one can give you more than one wish because I have nothing else to do but write the wishes of my heart on this white page. May you accept it as a big present: I hope - I hope for a day when all the affairs of life become colorful. I hope that all the remote lands and deserts of the country will become green in such a way that every step you take feels like a green plant. I hope going to school and university will shake the ground. I hope markets, streets, schools, universities, and mountains will again be filled with your laughter. I hope that in a small corner of this big world, which we call our homeland, you can dance with your peers and see the colors of life... Despite all the hardships, misfortunes, and heartaches, I entrust you to the significant threshold. Look at the beautiful sky! Bring beautiful stars to your beautiful eyes! Not soon, but I swear and promise; one-day such beauties will be spread all over the Afghan homeland. I believe in my hopes and dreams.


It is a good thing that Afghan girls do not surrender to despair and hopelessness in the current situation, and while the gates of schools and universities were closed on them, they do such things. I would like to thank these three sisters who both work for themselves and have provided work opportunities to others and try so that the good of their work reaches Afghan women who are deprived of education. At the same time, we ask the current government of Afghanistan to open the gates of schools and scientific centers for Afghan girls. Otherwise, we will forever be forced to our hypocritical neighbors, especially Pakistan and Iran, and we will take our female patients to Pakistan and Iran for treatment.


In this difficult situation that Afghan women and girls live in, it is very difficult for them to find a job for themselves, as women used to work in gyms, beauty salons, and foreign organizations. Now they are all unemployed, and many Afghan women are breadwinners of their families. So, the size of such stores is good news for hard working women. It is a matter of happiness for us that we have such brave and talented girls and women in our country, with such a difficult situation and constant bans, they still work with such courage, and work hard to meet the needs of their families and to serve their country.


In these difficult situations, the best and most encouraging news is that it brings joy to one's heart. Women must find work in every field to earn money for their families. Every woman in the country is responsible for her family; nowadays, her responsibilities have doubled. Therefore, I hope that women should not be used only for sexual pleasure and labor. Women are an essential section of society, ahead of men in every field; they are committed to the country and the land in poverty. I wish all foreign organizations and businessmen to invest in the business sector for women and provide employment opportunities for oppressed people.


Sometimes before, I heard the press conference of the political deputy of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Afghanistan, Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai. He said that within the framework of Islam, citizens, especially women, should be provided with work and education. Stanikzai seems to be a relatively enlightened person among the Taliban, and from time to time, he makes statements in front of his leaders that somehow make the nation happy. Still, the happiness of the nation is in the field of action. Dress your words with action and tell men that the doors of education are open for their Afghan girls and women who can work. If they say that within the framework of Sharia, it is correct because no Afghan wants to see the face of a housewife, even if someone else sees her. The Afghan people are people of modesty and honor and have consistently demanded their honor. They don't understand this nation because they make excuses about being Taliban. Suppose Abbas Stanikzai and other leaders among them are really in the interest of the nation and are brave. In that case, they should provide opportunities for work and education for their suffering people. I swear to Allah they will win the hearts of the people... I watched a video yesterday. A woman who used to have a beauty salon in Kabul city cried because she used to have work, she was busy, but now her beauty salon is closed, she doesn't have a housekeeper, what should she do? What to eat, what to wear...? For God's sake, listen t