A Home-Based Embroidery Business Witnesses Twofold Increase in Profit

A Home-Based Embroidery Business Witnesses Twofold Increase in Profit
UNDP Afghanistan / GEP II / Anusha Ahmadi: Azima Safi, a woman entrepreneur, runs an embroidery business that has provided work opportunity for 45 women from Jalalabad.

Azima Safi, 50, runs a small embroidery business in Jalalabad. She learned sewing handicrafts when she lived with her family as a refugee in Peshawar, Pakistan during the 90s. As the oldest kid in the family, she had to quit school at grade five and work for someone else making handicrafts at a low daily wage, which she spent on her siblings’ schooling. Upon returning to Afghanistan in 1998, she started up a home-based embroidery business of her own in Jalalabad, Nangarhar province.

Ms. Safi is one of the 25 small business owners in Nangarhar province who received entrepreneurship training provided with support from UNDP’s Gender Equality Project in March 2014. “GEP helped me learn new skills including how to analyse market, based on which I now work on different types of fabric and can sell more,” says Ms. Safi.

Highlights

  • Azima Safi, 50, is one of the 25 small business owners in Nangarhar province who received entrepreneurship training provided with support from UNDP’s Gender Equality Project in March 2014.
  • Her monthly profit doubled recently reaching almost 40,000 AFN. She increased the number of her employees to 45 women who embroider for her.
  • Two of her nephews, one of whom recently got a scholarship to further his studies in Egypt and the other who studies at a private University in Jalalabad, tie their success to her aunt’s financial support.
  • UNDP’s Gender Equality Project in collaboration with the Ministry of Women Affairs organized a rural women handicrafts exhibit in Asmayee Hall in Kabul.

Putting what she learned into practice, she has lately witnessed a rise in her customers as well as in income. Her monthly profit doubled recently reaching almost 40,000 AFN. In order to respond to a growing demand for her products in the local market, she increased the number of her employees to 45 women who embroider for her and learn applying new designs from each other. Ms. Safi plans to expand the workspace at her house as her business continues to grow and she is optimistic to reach this goal in the next five years.

Ms. Safi has been spending a good portion of her profit on sending her siblings and orphan nephews through schools. “Azima is the only reason that my sisters and I have received an education,” says Tajalla Safi, Ms. Safi’s younger sister who now teaches at a public school. Two of her nephews, one of whom recently got a scholarship to further his studies in Egypt and the other who studies at a private University in Jalalabad, tie their success to her aunt’s financial support. Ms. Safi is satisfied with her business as it has benefited her family members. “I feel empowered when my business not only allows me to provide financial support to my family but also earns me respect and decision making authority at home.” 

In late October 2014, UNDP’s Gender Equality Project in collaboration with the Ministry of Women Affairs organized a rural women handicrafts exhibit in Asmayee Hall in Kabul, where nearly sixty women entrepreneurs from Nangarhar and Bamiyan provinces of Afghanistan, including Ms. Safi, showcased her products and where she was able to forge business links with handicrafts dealers from Kabul-area markets.

UNDP’s Gender Equality Project focuses on three major issues that Afghan women face: lack of or weak support provided to women’s rights through policies and legal documents; feeble participation of women in the economic activities; and limited access to justice and human rights systems due to the weakness of the judicial system. 

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