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Initiated by the association of Afghan Women and Children (EFA) during the Career Women’s Forum in 2002, the project of creating a sewing workshop in Kabul came to fruits in September 2003. The project was aimed primarily at Afghan widows who were in particularly precarious situations, and the objective was not only to provide them with a gainful employment, but also to offer them classes in mathematics, reading and writing.
In July 2003, the project was put into place by 2 women in their house, and they sold mainly traditional dresses.
By 2004, the workshop employed 24 women, their products ranged from occidental evening gowns to embroidered handbags for export and a store to sell their clothes was opened at the Women’s Garden (a place where only women are allowed). It is a first for Afghanistan to have women managing stores.
Since 2005, the workshop has been divided into 3 independent workshops, each with a head seamstress who has developed her own project. One looks after the shop in the Women’s Garden. Another concentrates on making clothes for NGO women expatriates. And the third opened a sewing shop for the manufacturing of traditional costumes sold in touristy boutiques on Chicken Street.
All in all this experience has provided jobs for more than 50 women, widows and young girls, who each earn an honorable salary of 50 AFN to 100 AFN.
Anne-Marie von Arx Vernon, co-director of the EFA association, travels to Kabul 2 to 3 times a year to keep us informed of the progress these women make.