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The job situation in Afghanistan is currently catastrophic: Unemployment has almost doubled since the Taliban took power. The chances of finding an apprenticeship are slim – for women in particular. In some professions, they are no longer allowed to work at all. Despite the continuing uncertain situation in Afghanistan, we are planning to launch a completely new project this fall: a training program for young women in Kabul to become jewellery makers, thus giving them prospects for the future beyond school education. After many uncertainties last year, we finally received the promise for basic funding and implementation from Germany! Currently we are waiting for the final approval of the Afghan ministries.
Thanks to your donations, we were able to secure important pillars of the program in a doubling campaign with the Aurora Borealis Foundation. These will cover both the technical equipment of the training center in Kabul, as well as the salaries of the jeweller trainer, the project manager and the training salary of the 15 program participants.
The Jewlery Blacksmith Training Program creates realistic and, above all, diverse job opportunities in the art of blacksmithing for both young school graduates and women who were excluded from the job market after graduation. The nine-month training program includes extensive practical training in which participants learn the various skills of the craft. In addition, theoretical knowledge is imparted, covering various disciplines from English lessons to marketing and design to accounting. In addition to theoretical and practical training phases, the goal of the training program is to enable the participants to work independently or as employees and to build a network with other blacksmiths.
Visions for Children e.V.’s many years of project work in schools led to an awareness of the limited opportunities available to female school leavers in Afghanistan. In surveys and interviews, female students at secondary schools told us that their chances of finding a qualified training opportunity or a job were often slim. In addition, many female students from economically weak backgrounds drop out of school early to work in the household or family business.
For women in particular, the situation has worsened since the Taliban took over: They are no longer allowed to work in some professions and, in some provinces, are not allowed to attend secondary schools. Despite these immense restrictions on the individual freedom of the women concerned, there is no general ban on work. For example, women are not prohibited from participating in the labour market or in a training program in all industries. If women participate in the labour market, they must separate themselves from their male work colleagues. In discussions with the ministries of the Taliban government, it became increasingly clear that women’s work and training will continue to be possible within the blacksmith industry.
The jewellery smith training program includes 15 places for young women between the ages of 17 and 35. The age range of the participants is deliberately broad. This means that both school leavers and women who have left the education system for private reasons after middle or high school can take part in the training program. Many women wish to receive training in order to improve their family’s financial situation.
During the nine-month training program, participants receive practical training as jewelry makers as well as theoretical training. The practical part of the training consists of three phases: teaching the basic skills, deepening what has been learned and specializing in the craft, and making their own jewellery. Knowledge of English and marketing are very valuable, especially in the purchase of materials and sales, and are therefore also included in the training plan. In addition, a broad program of different workshops is part of the training. They provide basic knowledge in the areas of health, accounting, design and self-employment.The goal of the program is that upon successful completion of the training program, the participants will be able to become self-employed or take up employment in a workshop. In order to strengthen them for the start on the job market, the participants receive an individual start package – completely tailored to the needs of the graduates.
The total cost of the program is €160,000. 70,000€ will be covered by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development – 90,000€ still have to be financed. Together with you and the Aurora Borealis Foundation Funds, we want to reach the first milestone towards that goal. The cornerstones of the program cost €25,000; including the salary of the trainer and trainees as well as the head of the training center and the technical equipment. The Aurora Borealis Foundation Funds will match every donation up to this goal!
The art of blacksmithing is highly respected in Afghanistan – and so is the work of women blacksmiths. Women blacksmiths enjoy a very high social status. In fact, women’s work is often preferred for filigree and very meticulous jewellery. In our surveys of young women in Afghanistan, we found that the desire for training in the jewellery trade is great. Even greater than the already more established offer of training programs to become seamstresses. In addition to its social value, blacksmithing also offers sustainable job opportunities, as demand for the craft is very high.
DAARTT – Danish Assistance to Afghan Rehabilitation and Technical Training – was founded in 2003 by Danish People’s Aid (DPA) with the aim of promoting education in Afghanistan through the construction of educational facilities and the provision of technical training. Since then, DAARTT has constructed more than 200 buildings and provided training for a variety of educational needs, both for staff of Afghan ministries and for the different target groups of the educational institutions. The core staff consists of very experienced Afghan employees. In addition, DAARTT has access to a network of international experts.