New Skills, New job, New income and New status  Zahra Story, Nimroz Province

Zahra is a widow who lives with her two children on the outskirt of Zaranj city in Nimroz province. Married at a young age, Zahra faced many misfortunes when she lost her husband in her 20s. With no literacy or skills for a sustainable livelihood, she had to clean other people houses for a living. Her income was not stable, nor was it enough to meet her household needs and feed her children.

In January 2020, UNODC provided vocational training to 60 women - 20 in beauty parlour services and 40 in tailoring - in Zaranj district of Nimroz province. Zahra was selected as a trainee for the beauty parlour course, as part of which she was provided training, equipment, and materials and a start-up grant of AFN 9,000 to launch her own small beauty parlour business.

“I have joined vocational training because I needed change in my life. After four months of training, I felt confident enough to start practicing the skills within my community. Recently, I was hired for bridal make up, for which I earned AFN 3000. This made me feel immensely happy and proud. I finally have control over my life. I believe I can now provide a better life for my children. Thanks to BADILL project I am financially stronger, and I can plan for my future, rather than worrying everyday about providing food to my children,” shares Zahra. 

The project has played an important role in changes Zahra’s extended family’s perspectives on women working outside the home. Now families in her community recognize women’s work and contributions to the household income. 

“My family acknowledges my contribution to the household income and, as a result, I have an important role in household decision making. Not only have I learnt a new job and started earning, but I am now also able to read and write. I meet many other women that went through similar problem. Because of our shared experience and our determination to improve our situation, we have become good friends,” Zahra adds.

19 other women like Zahra have graduated from beauty parlour classes and 40 women from tailoring classes. These women have all started their own businesses. Most of them run their profession within their homes and are able to make on average AFN 5000 per month, contributing to household economy and acquiring stronger say over the decisions in their families.