A small corner serving as a recreational, entrepreneurial gateway for women

KABUL (SW) – This little corner in Kabul is serving as a recreational and entrepreneurial gateway where some women are sitting on the floor and some on a stool and they are all engaged in beadwork.

In the next room, some young girls are sewing women’s clothes with sewing machines. In this basement in Dar al-Aman district of Kabul city, nearly 20 women and girls are engaged in sewing, weaving, beadwork and embroidery. Operators of this workshop say nearly 50 women work here.

Shakira Shams, one of the managers at the “Shams Senai Women’s Sewing Workshop”, who has been working for girls and women for entrepreneurship for many years, says that she has been busy as a journalist before. But her great interest in handicraft work compelled her to establish this workshop and provide job opportunities for unemployed women and girls who are left out of education.

She says: “When I was going to the field to prepare a report, I developed an interest in handicrafts. I created a workshop named it Banavan Shams, where I had 10 students at the beginning, and then the number of students increased.”

This ladies sewing workshop also has a store in Shahr-e-Nau where it sells the clothes, embroidery and beads it produces.

Lisa Shams, the daughter-in-law of Shakira Shams and others at the Shams Sanai ladies’ sewing workshop, say that in this workshop, besides learning handicrafts, women also learn English and school subjects.

Ms. Shams says that this workshop was created to keep girls and women who are left out of education from falling into depression and despair, and to provide work to a number of needy women. “When schools and universities were closed to girls and they were deprived of education and work, I myself fell into depression and because of this I wanted to create a field of work for women and my goal is to serve women who can through this support their families.”

A number of women who work in the Shams Sanai women’s sewing workshop are happy to be able to earn for themselves and say that their economic situation has improved by working here.

Khatira, who has been working in this workshop for two years, says that her husband is unemployed and she provides for the needs of her family with the income she earns from working here. Khatira says that she wants to create a sewing workshop after learning how to sew herself and provide work opportunities for more women.

Sobia, a young girl who started learning handicrafts at the Shams Sanai women’s sewing workshop, says that now she is the sole breadwinner of her family of eight. “I was in the 10th grade when the school gates were closed to girls. My father is not alive and our economic problems were many. I am the breadwinner of my family. I ask the Islamic Emirate to provide more work opportunities for us girls.”

After girls and women are left out of education and work, a number of women in Kabul and some other provinces have provided work for girls and women left out of education and work by creating sewing workshops, handicrafts and restaurants.