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Empowering Afghan Women Through Embroidery

Rangina Hamidi, an Afghan-American, is the founder of an embroidery business that employs more than 450 Afghan women in Kandahar.

Afghanistan is not unfamiliar to Rangina Hamidi. She was born in Kandahar, Afghanistan, but her family fled when the Soviets invaded. Her family ended up in northern Virginia, where Hamidi grew up. But after Sept. 11, she felt pulled back to her birth country. So she returned there with a mission: to help economically empower Afghan women.

"I saw my country, in the past 30 years of war, we are constantly waiting to be spoon-fed by the world," Hamidi said. "So my answer to this dissatisfaction was, start a business that I can own, but with a sustainable model."

Kandahar Treasure, Hamidi's embroidery business, now employs over 450 women. The money the women earn is all their own, which has improved the women's self-esteem and also given them a bargaining chip with their husbands, some of whom may want to marry off their young daughters.

"The mother basically is buying time for her daughters to not get married early because she's not bringing income, and the father agrees," said Hamidi.

Watch the video below to learn more about Hamidi, the women, and Kandahar Treasure.

This story is part of our Wednesday ViewChange video series.

Laura-elizabeth-pohlLaura Elizabeth Pohl is multimedia manager at Bread for the World.



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