The First Female-owned Shop in Aqkobruk Village
Arezo Khal is a 55 years old widow, lives in Aqkobrok village of Kishindeh district. She has twosons and one daughter and all of them are married. Her sons migrated to Iran in search of jobs and leaving their family behind. She says “we were in serious financial problem, if I could find a wage work somewhere in the village, we have food at that night otherwise I and my grandchildren would starve”. She has 7 grandchildren from her two married sons. Her two daughter in-laws were also working within village in neighboring houses as labor. After joining Hand in Hand Afghanistan’s self-help group name Mozhgan and attending the Group Management Training, Microfinance Training and Business Development Services (BDS) trainings, I learnt how to start and run a business, so I was interested in having my own business. I established the first woman shop in my village. I collect clothes from female tailors who are beneficiaries of HiH Af and sell them in my shop. I secured a loan from the SHG to establish the shop and after paying back the first loan I have taken another loan to buy grocery items that women need from a market. My shop is next to village clinic where women usually come for medical checkups and can shop from me too.
She says “Women are more comfortable to buy from a lady rather than shopping from men”.
Now I have a shop and earn on average AFN 4,500 per month which helps me cover my basic needs and also I can by stationery for my grandchildren. Majority of my customers are female while some men and children also come to shop from me. With support and guidance of HiH Af, I don’t have to wake up every day in search of a job to earn for living.
One of her daughter in-law looks after children at home and the other one meets female tailors to collect clothes and pays their money on regular basis now. Thanking Hand in Hand Afghanistan for the Livelihood Program, she says “I am proud to be the first woman shopkeeper serving women in my village and earning for my livelihood.