We are seven people in family and my father used to be the only breadwinner. Thanks to Hand in Hand and supporters for the program, I received business service training and received support to establish embroidery enterprise, it enabled me to join a private university and have a better life” Says, Aqila Hussaini, 19 years old. She lives with her parents in Shahrak Ulia village of Mazar-e-Sharif, Balkh province.

She say, “My father is an electrician, I have two sisters and two brothers, my sisters are elder and brothers are younger than me. My father’s income was hardly enough to feed the family, I knew the family’s financial condition and could never ask for their support to join a university.”

Hand in Hand Afghanistan implements ‘Village Uplift Program’ in Shahrak Ulia village of Mazar-e-Sharif. Aqila is one of the 110 women recognized eligible and she joined the program about a year ago, she attended regular group meetings and received series of training including business development services. She says, “I have always been interested in business and having income, HiH Af was perfect for me, I joined Ashiyana Self-Help Group and after completing business training with support of my trainer, I conducted a market survey and selected embroidery, the received vocational skills training and support to establish my enterprise.”

Aqila earns around AFN 3,000 per month and has already joined a private university where she studies economics, she says, “It was my dream to join a university and continue my education, as I was jobless couldn’t do it earlier, but after starting the business and having income, I am able to pay my all education costs and also sometimes I pay for my younger brothers stationary or school clothes.”

Aqila with help of her trainer has contracted with a shop in Mazar-e-Sharif market, she gets the raw material and upon completing stitching and delivering the orders she gets paid.  She stitches handkerchiefs, table clothes, bed sheet for children and other embroidery clothes based on market demand. She says, “I am very fortunate to get the opportunity and I enjoy my work, I used to be dependent but now I am self-reliant and even support my younger brothers. My family is proud of me and my trainers encourage me.”

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