Training program for female jewelry makers in Kabul
The job situation in Afghanistan is currently catastrophic: unemployment has almost doubled since the Taliban came to power. The chances of finding an apprenticeship are slim – especially for women. 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 brand new project this autumn: a training program for young women in Kabul to become jewelry makers. After many uncertainties last year, we have finally received the commitment for basic funding and implementation from Germany! We are currently waiting for final approval from 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 2022 endowment fund. On the one hand the technical equipment of the training center in Kabul, on the other hand the salaries of the master goldsmith trainer, the project manager and the training salary of the 15 program participants.
ABOUT THE TRAINING PROJECT: FEMALE JEWELERS IN KABUL
The jewelry blacksmith training program creates realistic and, above all, diverse job opportunities in the art of blacksmithing for both young female school leavers 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 trade. Theoretical knowledge is also taught, covering various disciplines from English lessons to marketing, design and accounting. In addition to theoretical and practical training phases, the aim of the training program is to enable participants to work independently or as employees and to build up a network with other blacksmiths.
Visions for Children e.V.’s many years of project work in schools have raised awareness of the limited opportunities available to female school leavers in Afghanistan. In surveys and interviews, female secondary school students told us that their chances of finding a qualified training opportunity or a job were often slim. In addition, many schoolgirls from economically disadvantaged 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 school. Despite these immense restrictions on the individual freedom of the women concerned, there is no general ban on working. For example, the participation of women in the labor market or in a training program is not prohibited in all sectors. When women enter the labor market, they have to separate themselves from their male colleagues. In discussions with the ministries of the Taliban government, it became increasingly clear that women will continue to be able to work and train within the blacksmithing industry.
The training program for female jewellers comprises 15 places for young women aged between 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 after middle or high school for personal reasons can take part in the training program. Many women want to get an education in order to improve their family’s financial situation.
During the nine-month training program, the participants receive theoretical training in addition to practical training as a jeweller. The practical part of the training consists of three phases: teaching the basics, consolidating what has been learned and specializing in the craft, and making your own pieces of jewelry. Knowledge of English and marketing is particularly valuable in materials purchasing and sales and is therefore also included in the training plan. A broad program of different workshops is also part of the training. They impart basic knowledge in the areas of health, accounting, design and self-employment.
The aim of the program is to enable participants to become self-employed or take up employment in a workshop on successful completion of the training program. In order to strengthen them for the start on the job market, the participants receive an individual starter package – tailored to the needs of the graduates.
The total cost of the program is €160,000. 70,000 has already been covered by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development – €90,000 still needs to be financed. We want to achieve the first milestone together with you and the Aurora Borealis Endowment Fund. 25,000 is the cost of the cornerstones of the training; the salary of the trainer and the trainees as well as the head of the training center and the technical equipment. The Aurora Borealis endowment funds double every donation up to this goal!
WHY TRAIN AS A JEWELER?
The art of blacksmithing is highly regarded in Afghanistan – including the blacksmithing work of women. Women blacksmiths enjoy a very high social status. Women’s work is often even preferred for filigree and very meticulous pieces of jewelry. Our interviews with young women in Afghanistan revealed that there is a great desire for training in the jewelry trade. Larger even than the already established range of training programs for seamstresses. In addition to its social significance, blacksmithing also offers sustainable job opportunities, as the demand for craftsmanship is very high.
PROJECT PARTNER: DAART
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 built more than 200 buildings and provided training for various courses for employees of Afghan ministries as well as for the various target groups of the educational centers. The core staff consists of highly experienced Afghan employees. In addition, DAARTT can draw on a network of international experts.
About the Aurora Borealis Endowment Fund
The Aurora Borealis endowment fund, which is financed by an IT company, was established at the beginning of the 2000s via the GLS Treuhand umbrella foundation. To date, the focus of the endowment fund has been on the targeted promotion of projects in Nepal. Support for Visions for Children e.V. has expanded the endowment fund portfolio to include Afghanistan as a project country since 2019.