Vocational Training Brings Renewed Optimism to Women in Taloqan
Education is said to be the key to unlocking the golden door of freedom. While women in Afghanistan increasingly move further towards this freedom, many continue to face significant barriers to education and employment. These two elements are imperative to re-establishing livelihoods and providing women with financial stability and independence. For those who do have the skills and resources to create their own businesses, accessing the market and local business centers can be extremely difficult. As a result, women are forced to sell their products at very low prices to relatives or the local community, often operating at a loss.
Late last year, our team launched a six-month vocational training program for 500 women in Taloqan, Afghanistan, which will train women from the community in tailoring, weaving, and handbag and shoe making. The program is also complemented by a Cash-Based Transfer ration, which provides women with a small starting income over the duration of the program. By sharing skills and providing a short-term income, our team will be able to give women in Taloqan the jump-start they need to establish their own businesses and access the market.
Halima is one of many of our vocational training program participants who has not had the resources to gain an income. As a mother of eight children, Halima and her husband, who works as a night shift guard, struggle to provide for their family on such a limited finances. As Halima shared, “we have a poor economic condition and are living in a rental house with very poor building. There is no one else to support our family except my husband, who earns 5000 AFN/month” (around US$65).
When Halima heard about SFL’s vocational training program, she was ecstatic about the opportunity to expand her skills, “It was a golden chance for me to register my name and enrol in a handbag making class. The course started in the beginning of August 2018 and I learned a lot about handbag making with other women and girls in class. I remember my first day very clearly - I knew nothing about making handbags. But I see much improvement now!”
Halima says, once she has completed six-month training, she will teach her daughters what she has learnt in order to develop her future business at their home. This year, Halima plans to expand her business and link with bigger markets in the region, creating an opportunity to earn a better income for the future.