Farida Kamal is a 40-year-old woman and mother of four sons, a wife to her husband, living in Hairatan town of Mazar-e-Sharif city, Balkh, Afghanistan. Farida joined the “Training the People of Hairatan City of Balkh Province, Afghanistan, to Launch Micro-Enterprises” project by selecting tailoring classes and professions.
Farida was very interested in sewing and sewing clothes, but she didn’t know much. She could sew simple clothes relatively well. When Farida heard about the project, she joined and gave it a try. She wanted to pursue this as a big chance, and it happened.
She says, “I turned my amateur sewing into a professional job with the knowledge I gained from the program. Moreover, in life skills classes, I relearned my literacy knowledge and practiced many things. I learned about business and people’s rights in society. I learned many things in the course of my communication with the people around me in the class. It was a very good experience because I have never participated in such a program and we did not benefit. I learned all kinds of clothing designs and sewing techniques. Now I am capable enough to recognize how this design should be cut and sewn.”
Before, Farida had faced economic challenges as her husband had a small shop and they didn’t have a lot of fixed income. She also couldn’t use the little sewing skills she had because she wasn’t able to adjust her profession. As she says, “I could only sew ordinary clothes.”
“I developed my tailoring skills with more knowledge of tailoring that enabled me to establish and manage the career. I started with the items I had taken from Hand in Hand during the project. During this time, I built a neat room for my sewing machine, and I have about 13 students today who all learn and help me sew clothes, and ten schoolgirls will join my classes during the winter holidays. I was not known and famous in society, but now everyone knows me as Farida the tailor.” She added.
Farida says, “I earn about four to six thousand Afghanis per month. I buy fabric and sewing materials, sew clothes, and sell them to people. The loans I got from my self-help group to buy fabric and sewing materials enabled me to start and develop this business. From the income that I have earned in these months, I added capital to my husband’s shop, and I bought goods for him to sell in the shop. In addition, I make jams, seasonings, and pickles for my husband’s shop with my own money, and he sells them in the shop.”
Farida invests her money in her husband’s shop and supports her husband in developing his business. As she says, “I invested between AFN 15,000 to 20,000 in capital into my husband’s shop from the money I made during these months, and I also purchased items for him to sell in the shop. Additionally, I spend my own money on making jams, sauces, and pickles that my husband sells at the store. In addition, I take more part in making and arranging household items, and I also support my four sons, who are school students. I fulfill all their needs.”
Her dream is the same as her plan for her profession: “I must have a big sewing unit where I can teach girls and women how to sew. In addition, I want to have a clothing contract with big companies. I am trying to find a company that needs a sewing machine to make clothes.”
In the end, she wants to deliver a message to other women: “I want to say: “Nothing is easy; everything needs your effort, passion, and perseverance. If you try to learn, then you can. To participate effectively in projects and enable themselves to support their family and children.”