Meet Frozan, who has created a buzz around Marmul
Frozan, 18, lives in north Afghanistan, a corner of the world where opportunity is scarce. Still, that never stopped her from dreaming. “We are a big family and my father, a farmer, was the only one earning – it was never enough. I have always wanted to do something to help but I didn’t know how.”
Didn’t, that is, until she met Hand in Hand. Frozan joined a Self-Help Group and quickly became a star pupil. Training led to a business plan, which led to a loan from fellow group members. Finally, she was ready: the newest and youngest beekeeper in her village. Her business has not only helped put her through school, but it has done the same for her younger siblings and even helped her parents provide for the family.
Mazar-i-Sharif, Balkh Province, Afghanistan
As a student, Frozan had already achieved more than her peers, but a desire to help her family would not let her stop there.
After joining the Shogufa SHG, Frozan attended regular meetings and supplemented her schoolwork with training on microfinance, bookkeeping and business development.
“I was keen to have a business from the first group meeting until I completed [business development] training, when I understood how to run a business and what I should consider before starting a business,” Frozan said. “Therefore, with the help of my trainer, I developed a business plan.”
Frozan carried out a study of the Marmul district in the Balkh province in northern Afghanistan and learnt that there was a high demand for honey. After further research, she discovered that beekeeping doesn’t require much labour – a perfect arrangement for a full-time student – and so she applied for and obtained a microloan of 10,000 afghanis (US $140) so that she could purchase two boxes of bees.
As the youngest person in Marmul to keep bees, the SHG taught Frozan the skills she needed to look after them, as well as how to extract the honey and improve its quality and volume.
After her first year, she had harvested 16 kg (35 lbs) of honey, making enough to not only repay the microloan but to leave her with a small profit. She invested that back into her business by buying more bees, and last year, she earned 120,000 afghanis ($1,728) from the 120 kg (265 lbs) of honey produced by a collection of what had grown to 20 beehives.
“After first year of my business, I was amazed to see the results,” Frozan said. “I repaid the loan and expanded my business. Now I am paying school expenses of my two younger siblings, helping my dad in home expenses and I have my own savings for emergencies.”
Frozan’s classmates have told her they have been inspired by her business and that they would like to set up their own.
“People having a business like me can help their families to overcome financial challenges, save for emergencies and take active part in developing economy of their communities,” she said.
“Now I have learnt how to manage my activities and time, and work confidently in order to improve our lives. I am also saving for expanding my business, which will in turn generate more income for me in the future.”
Increased monthly income from 0 to 10,000 AFN (US $144)
Able to contribute to school fees for her siblings
Inspired classmates to create their own businesses
Next case study: Meet Gloria, the former refugee growing crops – and profits