Demand for unique, handmade products is growing fast worldwide, and with strong traditions in woodcarving, ceramics, jewelry-making, and embroidery, the crafts sector represents a huge opportunity for Afghan artisans - most of whom are women. This is their chance to run their own businesses and to pursue larger markets, while supporting families and communities. Even those who never went to school can be successful, as skills are passed down through generations - from mothers to daughters, fathers to sons. However, despite this potential, Afghan crafts businesses face many challenges. Far & Wide has been working to solve these problems both through the Artisan Toolkit, and by providing a platform for artisans to market their products and reach consumers across the globe. The Afghan Small Business Fund aims to go further, providing investments to finance the growth of small crafts businesses.
Here’s why you should contribute:
All successful economies, including those of Canada and the US, have been built predominantly on small businesses, and by creating an environment for small businesses to grow. Afghanistan has many entrepreneurs in the crafts sector, who create beautiful products that appeal to international markets, but they often find themselves stuck at a standstill. The majority of Afghan craft businesses are too large for micro-loans and far too small for commercial loans. This leaves them in financial limbo, with no means of obtaining the investment they need to build their businesses. This financing gap eliminates small business growth. With your help we can provide the capital these businesses need to increase production. Visit our Indiegogo campaign to find out where these investments will go.
This is the Best Way to Help Afghan Women and Girls
The craft industry is dominated by women, and represents a source of income that does not require any formal education, or even literacy. In a country where illiteracy rates for women are still around 80% in certain areas, economic empowerment is incredibly important. It has been proven that when women are economically empowered they will have more bargaining power in the home and the community. Furthermore, they will use the money they earn to educate their children and provide for their families. But not all women engaged in the craft sector are illiterate or disempowered. Many savvy and educated businesswomen run craft businesses where they design and create their products, as well as hire employees. These women have the opportunity to lead by example, and create a new role for women in Afghanistan.
Now is a Crucial Time for Afghanistan
Afghanistan has great new leadership in President Ashraf Ghani, but with the 13-year international combat mission finally coming to a close, and NATO troops pulling out in great numbers by the end of this year, there is much uncertainty in the country. The withdrawal leaves the country vulnerable to Taliban insurgents once again, which is frightening enough, but it will also deprive the economy of the benefits of having tens of thousands of foreign troops, and their dollars, stationed in the country. On top of that, UN personnel and aid money are also leaving. The decade 2014 to 2024 has been aspirationally termed the “decade of transformation” for Afghanistan - help support this goal by supporting small business growth!
There’s Something in it For You
When you contribute to the fund, you are given the option to choose an item made by one of our talented artisans - lapis studs, walnut bookends, calligraphy, ceramics, or a custom-made jacket. Visit our campaign to see these perks, and get one for yourself!
Thank you to all who have contributed and shared this campaign - we may not meet our goal, but all funds we raise will go towards supporting the efforts of small crafts businesses in Afghanistan.
If you have not yet contributed, please do! We have one week left to go!