Ms. Gulandam, 50, lives with her husband and 12 children in the province of Kapisa in Afghanistan, a region that has been the site of violent fighting between coalition military forces and Taliban fighters in the ongoing war in the country.
Struggling to provide for her family, Ms. Gulandam began to search for work, but it was not an easy endeavour. In a society where women have few rights and there is cultural resistance to their participation in the workforce, hardly any opportunities existed.
Fortunately, she came across a food processing company being supported by Development and Peace partner, The Afghan Women’s Resource Centre (AWRC). Ms. Gulandam began to receive technical training and two years later was chosen to become a group leader in heading up a local women’s business that produces pickles, vegetable sauce and peppers. The AWRC also provided her with a micro-credit loan so she could purchase equipment for her business.
Her business success did not end there. With the continued support of the AWRC, she received training in marketing to help improve the sale of her products, and joined a women’s cooperative. She participated in several agricultural exhibits and even received a certificate from the Governor of Parwan in recognition of her business skills.
“I am proud to be working and running a small business in my village,” she said. “I’m proud that I can help my family and other women in the community.”
Today, it is her turn to help lift other women in Kapisa out of poverty and gain autonomy. The AWRC helped her submit a funding proposal to produce pickle and vegetable products. With this funding, she will also be able to give training to 25 women, and provide them with the same rare opportunity that was once afforded to her by the AWRC.