USAID/ASGP Kabul Staff
Jewelry making leads to long-term development in Kabul Province.
9 NOVEMBER 2010 | KABUL, AFGHANISTAN
Sra Mena District of Kabul Province is home to a large number of poor families, many of which are headed by women. Most of the women are war widows, illiterate, extremely poor, and unable to adequately support their families or pay for the expense of sending children to school.
Mrs. Parigul has a great deal in common with the women in her community – she also lost members of her family, including her husband, in the civil war and now supports her children on her own. With one practical idea, she saw an opportunity to change the dire situation faced by women like her.
After receiving lessons in woodcarving from a nonprofit organization, Mrs. Parigul decided to gather a group of women from her community and establish the Kabul Women’s Vocational Development Association. Bringing 20 women together, she started a literacy program for the members, purchased precious stones and tools, and began making jewelry by hand. The products were exhibited at fairs and markets, and income started flowing. The association was registered with the government, and through encouragement from participants, more women became involved.
When the Ambassador’s Small Grants Program (ASGP), which is supported by USAID, heard about Mrs. Parigul’s initiative, its community development facilitators helped her prepare a grant application for additional funding. When she received the grant in March 2010, Mrs. Parigul was able to bring more women into the program and purchase machinery to grind and polish the stones.
Now, the women can cut and polish better quality stones using machine grinders and polishers. They use the stones to make uniquely designed jewelry that is in high demand in the local markets. The association members are also paying for their children’s school expenses and taking care of their families with the income earned from jewelry making.
Upon completion of the project, the members of the association decided to apply for another grant to expand their operations into a cooperative, making each woman an owner in their enterprise. ASGP is currently supporting the association to finalize its application for additional funding.
Last updated: January 12, 2015