Zarmina at her  shop| Photo: Shukria Safi

A female shopkeeper in Sholgara

The kids of Oglan village never forget Zarmina’s shop in the early mornings. Their fathers put their coats under their pillows at night to safe their money.

 Although, luck of civilization and traditional life style creates huge problems for women and girls in Afghanistan, especially in villages and remote areas, but yet, these hard-working women doesn’t forget initiatives and inventions to improve their economic situation and run a comfort and a better life.

The small and un-asphalted road which turns to left side from Sholgara highway goes to Oglan village, where a young girl not only made a shop for herself, but reaches to her dreams. Zarmina lives in Sholgara district of Northern Balkh province, a district with 113 villages. She is the only female shopkeeper in her village.

Zarmina, 22, is the eldest girl in her family who lives with her parents, 4 sisters and 3 bothers. She has been dreaming to get higher education from the very childhood, but she was not sure if she would reach her dream, because almost all of the girls were only graduating from high school. Based on inadmissible traditions in the village most of the families preferred their daughters to get married after their secondary or high school graduation. On the other hand, they are not able to afford the expenses of their high education.

But Zarmina is the first girl, who struggles with all these economic and cultural problems.She always dreamed of having a job that financially enable her to continue her higher education, Though working outside for women is shameful for families in Sholgara.

When she heard about Rural Development Programme’s Self-help groups in 2015, she joined one of these groups. Every week she saved 50 Afghani in the box.After several days she tought of opening her own shop and then she requested for a loan of 10, 000 Afghani from the Self-help group to buy the goods for her shop.

Zarmina says, it is almost about 2 years that I have opened the shop, first I started with alittle sum of  money and now I have more than 50 thousand Afghani in my shop, and my daily net profit is around 250 AFN by which, now I can manage to pay the cost of my higher education.

“It is unbelievable that I am in the second year of the university, being student of university was one of my wishes like girls in the cities.” Zarmina says with joy

“Loads of thanks to SCA that let me reach my dreams. like me, most of the women in our village are using this opportunity for their family economic development. In addition it makes a positive behavioral changes against working women among community people and make them believe that women and girls also can play a role in the improvement of their family and life. ”

Roqia, Zarmina’s mother seems happy too, she says about the shop benefits “she can pay for her education as well helps the whole family”.

Since 2015 SCA Rural Development Program created 402 Self-Help Group in Balkh and Samangan provinces, which 62% out of 6004 members are women. 

Shukria Safi

Senior Communications Officer

Kabul Management Office 


+93 (0) 788 618090