ZARANJ (Pajhwok): A woman in northwestern Nimroz province has established a training workshop, where dozens of girls above sixth grade are being taught the tailoring vocation.
Sohaila Alizai, the founder and director of the Zaranj Tailoring Workshop, told Pajhwok Afghan News she opened the workshop three months ago with a capital of 150,000 afghanis in the provincial capital.
To the workshop, she has appointed 10 female trainers, who teach 100 girls. Most of the participants are students of the sixth grade.
Alizai claimed it was the first-ever workshop for girls and women. “We used to have small vocational training projects of 3-6 months duration and they are not useful.”
Although the number of aspiring trainees was high, she noted, they could not accept more than 100 girl trainees due to insufficient budget and sewing tools.
Girls happy with learning tailoring
Last year, when the academic year began, the Islamic Emirate suspended middle and high school education for girls, saying it was working on a draft law. On its finalisation, the government had promised, schools for girls would be reopened.
Dozens of girls attending the tailoring training workshop in Zaranj expressed disappointment with the closure of schools for them. Having joined the workshop, they are now being trained as tailors.
Breshna Barakzai, one of the trainees, recalled she was an eighth-grade student when girls’ schools were shut.
But Barakzai was happy over being chosen as a trainee, believing she would learn the basics of a profession.
She said: “Many girls like me are interested in learning how to sew and this we can do through the workshop. We can support our families financially with our sewing skills.”
Citing the current situation of girls and women, she praised the initiative and said: “The closure of schools for girls has disappointed us all.
“However, we are happy with the organisation of this workshop. We girl are busy here learning the profession of tailoring.”
Benafsha, another participant of the workshop, says: “I was in the 11th grade when schools were closed for us. During two years of closure, we have suffered a lot. At this workshop, we are learning how to sew different items.”
She wants schools for girls reopened
With the arrangement of this workshop, 10 widows and poor women have been appointed to different jobs.
Sohaila Alizai, organiser of the workshop, said: “We give priority to widows and poor women and attract them to work. Widows and heirs of martyrs are also given priority in appointments so they can become self-sufficient after training.”
According to her, of 100 students, five were educated for free with financial assistance from the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).
She said each trainee paid a 500afs fee per month to fund teacher salaries. She hoped number of trainees would go up to 4,000 in the future.
Feriba, an instructor at the workshop, is a widow and sole breadwinner for a family of five. She was happy over training workshop participants.
She asked government institutions and to support the workshop, the safest place for professional training for women in the province.
Meanwhile, the Nimroz Chamber of Commerce CEO said women had been able to start small and big businesses with different methods and solutions.
Najibullah Khashrodi promised the chamber had plans to support women’s trade and business activities.