2013 Year-end Good News from Afghanistan: Project Artemis Graduate Updates
written by: Wynona Heim '08, Client Director, Thunderbird for Good
Sania, who graduated from Artemis this year, has grown her fashion business, Wonderland Women (link to: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Wonderland-Women/343380599078958) significantly in just the past 10 months.She has been able to add 6 full time employees and an additional 5 home-based part time employees since returning from Arizona. She has attended exhibitions in Kyrgyzstan and India, and held two fashion shows in Kabul where she made very good sales and additional contacts for exporting her clothes (all made in Afghanistan). Additionally, she reports her Gross Margin has increased by 40% over last year.
Wonderland Women fashion show in Kabul
Wahida, another 2013 graduate, owns an organization called Tahminah which provides mental health counseling and services, headquartered in the Western province of Herat. Wahida was able to open a second location in Kabul this year, and is working diligently with her mentor on a strategic plan which will make her organization financially self-sufficient. Wahida’s mentor, Mojdeh Gharbi, volunteers significant time and expertise in mentoring as well as bringing in experts in Wahida’s field to help advise them. Mojdeh spends her days as the Senior Marketing Director at Certain Affinity, a video game development company in Austin, Texas. This mentor/mentee team has formed an especially close working relationship over the past year. Wahida’s dream is to have a mental health clinic in every province, and a high-quality psychiatric hospital someday to help the people of Afghanistan recover from a generation of war and chaos.
Wahida and her mentor, Mojdeh, working together in February at Thunderbird
Malalai graduated from the program in 2010. Since graduation, she and two other 2010 graduates, Laila and Fahima, have joined their businesses together creating a very strong textiles and hand-crafted décor business which has grown steadily since they returned from Artemis, adding more than 10 full-time and 25 part-time jobs in the process.Malalai has taken several leadership positions since 2010 as well – leading the Afghan Women’s Business Federation (AWBF) https://www.facebook.com/pages/Afghan-Womens-Business-Federation-AWBF/130209897153788 and the 10,000 Women Alumni Network, and leading a program through the AWBF to train women in several Afghan provinces in how to access finance for a woman-owned business.On top of all of this, Malalai had been mentoring many other women in how to start and grow their own businesses – five of these mentees have received funding for their organizations this year.
It is so rewarding to see these women growing their businesses and finding success for themselves and their communities. These women are working hard to make a better future for themselves, their communities, and their country.
Please join us in helping them make a difference – donate to Thunderbird for Good online at https://secure.thunderbird.edu/Artemis.aspx