Notes from Hedvig & the Artisan Toolkit team's trip to Kabul. For more information on the toolkit, click here.
When I first met Shugufa Yousofzai nine years ago I knew that she was something special - but I had no idea just how special.
Shugufa is in her late twenties, started her own jewelry business almost three years ago, and has been very successful. She says that business is her passion and that she loves figuring out what people want. This time when we meet her, we briefly discuss her jewelry business, but she is eager to get on to new topics. On the side she has recently started mentoring other businesses that need help. “I understand the market and I can help them,” she says. One such business is a candle producer that was struggling. “All I had to do was visit all the wedding halls in Kabul and convince them that candlelight is much more romantic than fluorescent lighting and that was not hard. The candle maker is now struggling to keep up with demand, but that is a good problem to have,” she laughs. Next is a silk weaver. “He needed to update his colours and also use more natural dyes,” she says. His sales too have dramatically increased. When asking her what is next she talks about an idea she has had for a while. “I want to collect garbage paper in the streets, recycle it, and produce packaging material. I have already looked at the machinery and it can be done - it would create employment too,” she adds.
Shugufa is part of a small but growing group of entrepreneurial women forging ahead. Afghanistan’s future will in large part depend on them. The more Shugufas, the brighter it will be.
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