SHIBERGHAN (Pajhwok): Zarmeena, who has completed a nine month training course of sewing bags at ACTED Office in northern Jawzjan province, says the conflict has widowed a large number of women in Afghanistan and if peace is achieved craftswomen like her will be the best workforce.
“I am happy that I can sew bags from cloth and leather and earn a living this way.” said Zarmeena, who sews bags and sends them to her husband’s shop for sale.
Besides this business her husband sells raw material used in bag sewing and some other products.
She is very hopeful about peace and stability in future and said that it will help expand their work further and bag imports to the country will be stopped.
Another woman, Zahra, 40, who sews bags to help her husband support their eight-member family, has asked the conflicting parties to reconcile so women like her could work in peaceful atmosphere.
The resident of Shiberghan City, Zahra has been sewing bags for the past two years. She studied up to class 4th and was unable to continue her studies due to insecurity and fighting then. She migrated to Iran due to war in the country and was unable to continue her education.
Her only wish is peace, security and tranquility so that her children are able to study and have a bright future.
Zahra has three daughters and four sons and her husband is a watchman in a business centre and earns monthly 5,000 afghanis which is not enough for an eight-member family. After deciding to sew bags she somehow overcomes economic challenges.
She participated in a bag sewing course of ACTED Office two years back and latter started her own bag sewing work.
While sewing a bag, she said: “I sew 400 bags monthly and get 60 afs profit from every bag, monthly I earn 20,000 to 30,000 afs. I have contracts with three shops that sell bags.”
Zahra has installed few sewing machines at the corner of her house and was training around six girls in bag sewing.
She hoped she could be able to visit far-flung areas of the province to provide training to other girls who have been deprived of education. According to Zahra this craft training would help them become economically independent.
With a huge hope and expectation, she said: “I wish fighting ends in our country so that all of us live close to one another and work in peaceful atmosphere and this small network convert into a big one.”
She said the fighting was the reason for her and her husband’s illiteracy, adding that if there was no fighting they would have completed higher education and their situation would have been better.
Referring to women’s worries that work and educational opportunities for women would be wasted in post-peace era, she said: “We want the Taliban and the government not to hamper women’s education, higher studies and employment sectors.”
About the ongoing peace talks, she said: “I wish the fighting and insecurity to end and a new sun of peace and tranquility arise and people’s most precious demand is heard.”
Zahra said in her entire life she mostly heard and witnessed sad events of fighting and insecurities but she thanked Allah that now an opportunity for peace was available and hoped that government and the Taliban would hear voices of orphaned children, youth, widows and war victims to end the ongoing conflict
Zahra’s husband Sayed Qamar hailed the work of his wife and said: “I am proud of Zahra, besides being a housewife she is sewing bags as well. Earlier our economic condition was not stable but now we are in a better position.”
He termed women’s work outside house vital for improving the economic situation and asked both negotiating teams not to create hurdles for women to restrict them from working outside home in post-peace era.”
He added: “Working alone, I earn 5,000 afghanis monthly which is not enough about the future of our children, but since my wife has started sewing bags we are no more worried and we hope for a bright future of our children.”
He said all of his children went to school and if peace was not establish his children would not have a good future.
But this is not only Zahra who is working to improve her home’s economic condition and hoping for peace and stability so that their work further expand and their children have good life.
Meanwhile ACTED Office In-Charge Eng. Amanullah Amin said in the past two years around 70 illiterate women who were in bad economic condition had attended training to sew bags.