The Afghan women artisans at Kandahar Treasure remain resilient and hopeful in the face of adversity. In the wake of the U.S. withdrawal and purported “peace” with the Taliban, violence across the nation continued in 2020 and 2021 as the U.S. increased air strikes and raids while the Taliban made territorial gains and sacked Kabul. Women in particular were shunned from society and stripped of their rights.
In October 2021, as we kept in close contact with our partners at Kandahar Treasure, they expressed their desire to return to work despite the complex political landscape. Kandahar Treasure is an entrepreneurship that employs artisan women, mostly widows of war, in the Kandahar area. Through the creation of ethically-made and beautifully embroidered pieces, this group of women maintain independence in an increasingly constricting environment. Being part of Kandahar Treasure also gives the women essential financial counseling.
We are proud to announce that, by November, the women of Kandahar Treasure reopened their doors and were able to continue working while their livelihoods and political freedom were called into question. In the words of artisan Homaira, “The Taliban can make all the rules they want, and it’s not like we were living without burqas even in the last 20 years, they will not be able to stop us from living!” Their courage inspired our team to take further action.
With your generous donations, we were able to provide much-needed food packages to the families of 120 artisans through a series of distributions, the latest occurring at the beginning of June. Before Ramadan began in April, household necessities such as cooking oil, rice, sugar, red beans, flour, and tea made the difference for 75 families as Kandahar Treasure often provides work to multiple women in one home. We are thrilled to report that the sales at Kandahar Treasure's local store in Kandahar have started to rise again and samples for GGP's holiday order are finalized.
As Kandahar Treasure founder Rangina Hamidi says, “while things are looking very bleak from a political perspective, there are stories to give us reason for hope.” Here at Global Goods Partners, we are certainly hopeful.