Our Bamiyan Women’s Economic Programs are the heart of all our economic programs at PARSA. It is where Trade Afghan found its inspiration, and where the majority of the clothing sold in our PARSA Gift Shop is made. The hand-stitched embroidery of the Bamiyan women cannot be matched.
Our Bamiyan Women’s Programs are centered around a thriving self-organized women’s cooperative. The majority of the 160 active members are the heads of their households and are the breadwinners for their families. PARSA supports the women by providing them with a location in Bamiyan City for their women’s center, training for improving their skills in embroidery and handicraft making, transport to and from training sessions for the women who live in villages away from the city, a plot of land for growing agriculture products to sell and feed their families with, finding national and international markets for about 40% of their products (the women are great at sales and find their own customers for the other 60%), and by encouraging them to expand their skills and activities.
The women are enthusiastic about their work, and understand that as long as they take the initiative, PARSA will do our best to support them in their requests to improve their program. For 2015 the women are requesting:
- Looms for utilizing their skills in weaving
- A kindergarten in their women’s center so that their young children can learn while the women focus on working
- A cow or two to learn how to produce and sell dairy products
- A small kitchen where the women can fix their own lunch
Besides fulfilling these wishes, PARSA is planning to expand the program in 2015 to 250 members, and to launch a very special program that will reach out to women in more remote villages, particularly to those who are the most in need, and help establish ways for them to better support themselves. For more information about these amazing women or to support them in 2015, please Contact Us.
Women in Bamiyan’s Cave Communities
We are also looking to improve our outreach to the women of the cave communities on the outskirts of Bamiyan city. The people of these communities are among the poorest and most discriminated against in all of Afghanistan, and although the men are able to leave to find work, the women usually spend their whole lives there with no access to education or any form of governmental assistance. Currently, at their request we are providing basic education to these women so they are able to achieve a basic literacy that will allow them to compete on the market, and in 2015 we plan to introduce them to our women’s center so that they can learn embroidery and other handicrafts. The Bamiyan Cave Communities are very special to everyone at PARSA, and we have several initiatives there.