Meet Zubaida, the ‘famous’ tailor from Marmul district
Four years ago, Zubaida had no job and no income. Today, she’s something of a local celebrity, “famous” for running her own tailoring business. With her newfound income, the 32-year-old is feeding her children a more nutritional diet. And with her growing reputation, she’s training six people in her community to work as tailors, just like her.
The Gul Lala Self-Help Group
Employment in Afghanistan is hard to come by. Poverty is not. Some 39 percent of Afghans live on less than US $1.90 a day, the World Bank’s threshold for ‘extreme poverty’.
Zubaida used to be one of them. Back in 2014, she was struggling to feed her five children with her family’s monthly income of AFN 7,000 (US $100). So when Hand in Hand Afghanistan offered her the chance to learn business skills as part of a Self-Help Group, she leapt at the chance.
Hand in Hand’s budding entrepreneurs are offered the chance to learn basic business skills, form a community and build a pool of savings that can be used to take their initiatives further. Zubaida joined the Gul Lala Self-Help Group and did exactly that, taking an initial loan of AFN 10,000 (US $200) to establish her own tailoring business after gaining the training and confidence she needed.
Today, Zubaida designs, makes and sells women’s clothes for AFN 200 to 450 (US $3 to $7) an item, while the clothes she makes for children fetch AFN 150 to 200 (US $2 to $3). Between them, she earns about AFN 6,000 (US $85) a month.
But the impact of her new enterprise isn’t only financial. “Now I’m able to make decisions about my kids and describe my views and opinions in a better way with my family members,” she says.
And her sense of empowerment doesn’t stop there. “My neighbours and relatives see me as a businessperson and as an instructor, which makes me proud,” says Zubaida. “My enterprise has made me famous and it has given me the courage to take part in social activities.”
Having paid her loan back to the group, she is now training six people like her in tailoring entrepreneurship. Not only has her business allowed her to build financial freedom and confidence, it has given her a platform to train and inspire others to improve their own lives.
Monthly income: AFN 6,000 (US $100)
Training six members of her community
Feeding her five children healthier meals
Next case study: Meet Gloria, the former refugee growing crops – and profits