From apprentice to a small business owner

Alina Azimi is 25 years old and leading a producer group in Larghan village of Aybak district of Samangan province. She is a good supporter of her family and several other women in the village. She and 52 other women have graduated from vocational training courses; such as beauty parlor, bag sewing, cake and cookies baking, and soap making. The graduated women have established 23 producer groups in the Aybak city of Samangan province.

The Swedish Committee for Afghanistan in the north has conducted vocational trainings for women living in villages and remote areas. The main purpose of this training is to create job opportunities in remote areas and villages.

Alina says: "I am responsible for a family of fifteen. My father can’t work. I feed my family through embroidery. Eight people work with me here. Four of them are from vocational training courses from which they graduated last year."

She also added: "I earn 15 to 20 thousand Afghanis per month. I sent my father to Hajj with the money that I make here. Working in the village is not easy and there are always challenges."

Alina's mother is a good supporter of her daughter. It is almost ten years that she is working as deputy of Mir Seyed Lerghan CDC (Community Development Council). She says: "I am providing job opportunities for women in the village. I supported my daughter so that other women in the village could be persuaded to learn the profession. I have already requested a loan from the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan, and I have plan to open a shop in the city to sell our products. I require a woman to be the shopkeeper."

In the outskirts of the city, 27-year old Jamilah lives with her two children in Khwaja Ismail village. She is separated from her husband. She is also one of the participants from last year's vocational training and learned bag sewing.

She says: "It was the best opportunity for me to join the vocational training. Now I am sewing bags in the village. People order bags and I prepare for them. I can take care of my children by myself. I earn 5,000 Afs per month and I have made a small shop for my son. It is a good hobby for me. I can take care of my children very well and send them to school."

Mohammad Fahim Wahedi, head of the Rural Development Project of Swedish Committee in the north says: "Vocational training for women was conducted in 2019 in Aybak district of Samangan and Shulgara district of Balkh provinces. A total of 113 women who had a membership of saving groups attended these trainings. They learned about beauty parlor, cake and cookies baking, bag sewing, and soap making.”

In 2020, the establishment of 12 vocational training centers in Dara-e-Suf Payeen and Aybak district of Samangan province is planned and centers will provide trainings in mobile repairing, cake, and cookies baking, bag sewing, embroidery, and soap making.