An exhibition of women’s handicrafts opened in Mazar-e-Sharif on Sunday in an effort to expand the market of their products, says Ahmed Masih Azimi, who organized the three-day event for the Afghan Women’s Educational Center.
The exhibition in the capital of northern Balkh province showcases women’s leatherwork, embroidery, tailoring, and food products in 80 booths. In addition to helping promote the wares, the event is designed to strengthen the women’s crafting efforts, says Azimi.
Fariba had been using her income from the handicrafts business to pay for her education. But a drop in demand after the return of the Taliban meant that 22-year-old Fariba was forced to drop out of her economics program in the second year.
“Due to the lack of a market for our products, I have not been able to earn enough to cover the cost of my education,” she told Zan Times. She hopes to use the opportunity at the exhibition to sell some products.
Before the Taliban, many women worked for the government and in non-government offices, but now, with most of those occupations closed to women, they have turned to jobs such as embroidering, tailoring, and producing food items for sale. As well, many teens are also looking for vocational training and work in the handicrafts industry because they can no longer attend high school.