Hope Springs in AliceGhan: Residents Cherish Better Lives and Incomes

A resident works on UNDP/Australia-funded improvements to AliceGhan. UNDP and the Australian Government are improving life and job prospects for the 300 residents of AliceGhan, a camp for internally displaced people (IDPs) about an hour’s drive from Kabul. © UNDP Afghanistan / Omer Sadaat / 2016


19 March 2017, Kabul
– On March 12, representatives from UNDP, the Australian Government and the Ministry of Rural Rehabilitation and Development (MRRD) visited AliceGhan township, located 30 kilometers north of Kabul, where, with the help of Australian funding, UNDP has built latrines, kitchens, boundary walls and storage rooms in 300 houses of internally displaced people. One of the residents, Ahmad, says, “We needed a boundary wall to keep our children safe from strangers and wild animals.” The construction work provided over 55,000 labor days over five months.

Highlights

  • With Australian funding, UNDP built latrines, kitchens, boundary walls and storage rooms in 300 houses of internally displaced people in AliceGhan township
  • AliceGhan residents, most of whom are very poor, can travel to Kabul and back every day by a free commuter bus
  • In the past one year, nearly 136 women received training in tailoring and embroidery in AliceGhan and they now earn a decent income
  • The women produce lab coats, casual and traditional dresses, and covers for pillows and mattresses

A commuter bus that had broken down has also been put back into action: this means that AliceGhan residents, most of whom are very poor, can travel to Kabul and back every day. The Aliceghan town assembly now oversees maintenance of the bus, resolves issues within the community, and manages a women’s tailoring and embroidery training programme. Since 2016, this programme has trained 136 women in tailoring and embroidery and they now earn a decent income so they can buy food, clothes, and put their children through school. 

 Madina has been learning to make clothes, which she sells in the market in Kabul. © UNDP Afghanistan / Omer Sadaat / 2016

“After the training, it is easy for me to sell the clothes I make,” says Madina, a young graduate of the training. “The project showed us exactly how and where to sell the clothes.”

The women produce lab coats, casual and traditional dresses, and covers for pillows and mattresses. They sell their products in the markets of Kabul and its environs. On average, young women who are being trained can make two dresses a day, bringing them an income of 200 Afghanis. But as their skill grows, their productivity will increase, and so will their profits. These kinds of products have gained ground in the market, and that means investing in local women’s skills can lead to sustainable income generation and economic growth.

Better life conditions and a chance to learn marketable skills provides residents of AliceGhan with a greater stake in their surroundings and a true sense of ownership. It is truly a story of hope and resilience.