by Abdul Haleem, Jawid Omid
KABUL, April 3 (Xinhua) -- "I launched a small tailoring project in my home a couple of years ago and presently 12 women are working there and all of us are satisfied with the monthly income," Zakira Hussaini, a lady from Afghanistan's northern Balkh province, told Xinhua.
Sitting in her stall at an exhibition here in Kabul, Hussaini, from a family of 13, said cheerfully that she had become economically self-sufficient.
In patriarchal Afghanistan, men are traditionally the bread winners of the family and control the financial affairs of the home.
"It is almost one year since I started to achieve financial self-sufficiency and have been shouldering the majority part of my family's expenditure," Hussaini said proudly.
In Afghanistan society it has traditionally been regarded as shameful for the male members of a family if a female member works outside of home and earns a living.
However, the tradition has slowly started to fade as many women have taken bold steps over the past 15 years in the post-Taliban Afghanistan, to display their talents and move the country towards modern socio-economic development.
At the Villagers Products' exhibition held recently in the historic Babir Garden here, businesspeople, the majority of whom were women from across the militancy-battered country, displayed their products in 80 stalls to showcase their creations to potential retailers.
"My initial capital was 10,000 U.S. dollars when I began my small handicraft business one year ago. I am grateful to God that today 10 women are working in my company and earning a living for their families," Zohra Zamani, another female entrepreneur, told Xinhua at the exhibition.
Zamani also said that she has already given training to 35 women on how to work and develop the handicraft business in rural areas.
"My sole objective is to create job opportunities for women and help facilitate their self-sufficiency in their families," said Zamani.
In a bid to support rural areas and boost villages' economies, the Ministry for Rural Development and Rehabilitation launched the National Development Program to support rural products and provide job opportunities for villagers, especially women, to improve their living conditions.
Under the program, according to ministry officials, 111,000 jobs with 66,000 for women have been provided in 700 villages of 24 of the country's some 400 districts. The program, according to the officials, would cover 15 out of the country's 34 provinces by the end of 2017.
"I am sure that establishing small income generating projects to villagers in a variety of fields including handicrafts, agriculture and livestock would help the people and the country at large to stand on their feet," Zamani said.