Meet Mrs. Sima, a 45-year-old woman and mother of three daughters and one son, living in Wali Aser town in Mazar-e-Sharif city, Afghanistan. Sima’s life took a transformative turn when she joined the Khairandesh Self Help Group and Embroidery class under the HASEL project, where she learned the art of embroidery and hand sewing. Little did she know that this opportunity would pave the way for her to establish a thriving enterprise, leading to financial independence and a better life for her family.
Though Sima had some prior knowledge of embroidery, she never saw herself pursuing it as a dedicated profession. However, through the support and training provided by the Hand in Hand Afghanistan Organization, she honed her skills and turned her passion into a business venture. Lack of capital did not deter her; instead, she utilized the materials and pieces provided by the organization to kick-start her enterprise.
Sima grasped the concepts of the Self-Help Group, learning how dedication, savings, and loans can be powerful tools for personal and financial growth. She applied these principles diligently and took loans from the group three times. With the first loan, she bought three sheep, generating additional income from their sale during Eid al-Adha. The second loan helped her invest in building her son’s house for his marriage, while the third loan allowed her to purchase windows and a gate for the house.
The experience of taking loans and managing repayments taught Sima the art of investing. She borrowed from a microfinance bank to buy a cow, which now provides her with a steady stream of income from milk, yogurt, cheese, and other dairy products. Utilizing the leftover materials as fuel for the winter season not only reduces waste but also saves on expenses.
Sima’s dedication to her craft has been passed down to her daughters, who have embraced embroidery and hand sewing with remarkable skill. They work alongside their mother, enabling the family to take on more contracts with local shops, thus expanding their reach and income.
Sima’s husband runs a bicycle repair and tire pump shop, while their son has an independent source of income. The daughters actively support their father’s business and contribute to household expenses. The family’s collaborative efforts have resulted in improved living conditions, with essentials such as an air conditioner, better clothing, and access to necessary medical care.
Sima’s journey to financial independence has been a life-altering experience. From enduring life’s difficulties to finding solutions and creating a positive economic flow, she stands as a testament to the potential of empowering artisans and uplifting communities through skill development and entrepreneurship.
Through the HASEL project and the support of the Hand in Hand Afghanistan Organization, Sima’s life has been transformed. From a skilled artisan with limited opportunities, she has become a successful entrepreneur, contributing to her family’s well-being and the local economy. Sima’s inspiring story showcases the power of empowerment initiatives and the potential within every individual to create positive change in their lives and communities.