Women Jewelers in the Making in Rural Herat
Herat: Rural women in Herat in the western edge of Afghanistan will soon find new skills in jewelry design and production can open new vistas for greater income in their hands. With support of the UNDP Gender Equality Project and under the aegis of the Department of Women’s Affairs (DoWA), 20 women from six villages of Enjil District are poised to try their hand at jewelry production.
For this income-generation activity, the participants will be provided with a toolkit of equipment and materials for jewelry production. The toolkit will enable the beneficiaries to start their own production as soon as they learn the skill.
Khadijatul Kubra Women Market in Herat city is the center for purchase of jewelry products. The women jewelry entrepreneurs will be linked with this market to sell their products.
Zainab Jan, 45, from Qalwan village in Injil district and one of the beneficiaries of the new initiative, said, “The six-month long training is a sufficient time to train us in making good and attractive designs of jewelry”.
A widow and a mother of seven children, Zainab is confident that the training will yield good benefits for her and lead to a new source of income and livelihood for her and her entire family. “My daughters will help me out in jewelry making and my sons will take care of marketing our products”, Zainab observes with optimism.
Once the training is completed, the successful participants will be provided with raw material from an established Jewelry Production centre in Herat. In return, the participants will receive wages proportionate to the amount of work they have done. The wages will be agreed before such arrangements are finalized.
Shukria Jan, 17 Years from Sanyan village of Injil cannot hide her happiness at having some work to do, at long last. “I am uneducated and my parents did not allow me to go to school and I usually spent my days taking care of my home chores and parents. I always had this dream to help my father to generate more income so that all of us have a good life. This dream of mine came true when I was selected for the jewellery training for 6 months under the supervision of expert trainers from the Jewellery Association trained at the international level. I was very happy that day and tell my father about my plans after the training and he and my entire family supported and encouraged me for this.”
Shukria plans to use a part of the income from selling the jewelry to send her younger sisters to school “so that they are not deprived of a bright future”. With the eagerness of an adolescent, Shukria says not only will she establish her own business but also pass on the skills to other girls who are uneducated and don’t have any source of income. “I will fully concentrate on the training and will not miss a single class to grasp all the techniques in jewelry making and developing excellent designs attractive to the customers”.
UNDP through its support to the second phase of the Gender Equality Project is taking strides towards eliminating the growing inequality amongst men and women in Afghanistan. Together with selected key government and non-government partners, the Programme aims to establish models in cooperation, coordination and public sector effectiveness for gender mainstreaming, promotion of gender equality and strengthening of the position of women in society.
The Inauguration of the Jewelry Training project activity coincided with visit of Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General, Mr. Mark Bowden and UNDP Country Director Mr. Alvaro Rodriquez.