Stories from Afghanistan: the women of Zardozi

We love finding great new products that are sourced from around the world, women made, and fair trade. As we continue our celebration of women during March for Women, we wanted to share some stories about the women artisans who make the handcrafted, embroidered purses in our several of our gift sets. These women do beautiful embroidery for the Zardozi office in Afghanistan.

Aneesa is 27 years old and single. She grew up with 5 brothers and 4 sisters. She lives in the city of Peshawar, in a joint family system. Living with her brothers, their wives and children can be very difficult to handle — there is no privacy and plenty of chores. Two of her brothers work as vendors in a fruit shop and two others in a bakery. Because their income is not sufficient to run the whole family, the female members are also earning money by doing embroidery. Unfortunately, Aneesa and her sisters-in-law couldn’t continue their studies. However, Aneesa is literate, allowing her to keep records of embroidery work in the Zardozi office.

For Aneesa, selling her craft is the only way she can earn some income to support her extended family. She says the more people that buy Zardozi bags, the more work she will get. This source of income enables Annesa to buy medicines for her parents, as well as groceries. The income from working for Zardozi has strengthened Aneesa’s family relationships, since she is able to contribute to her family’s wellbeing.
 

Masooda Wahab is 39 years old, married and has 7 children – 4 daughters and 3 sons. 10 years ago, Masooda’s husband lost his sight during an operation. Because he is blind and in poor health, and he is unable to work. Masooda works in the Zardozi office, doing embroidery and supervising other embroiders while her children work in a carpet factory after school. They work part time so they can help their mother run the house and pay for their school fees, uniforms and books.

Masooda says that by getting orders through Zardozi she and others like her benefit by an increase in salaries that help her run her household. She thinks without this job life would be really difficult. Masooda shares that she likes the working atmosphere because it allows her to forget her troubles.
 

Zarghoona is 25 years old and single. She grew up with a mother and father, 6 sisters and 1 brother. Because rent is very high and they can’t afford to live in the city, Zarghoona and her family live in a old house, small and in poor shape. There are no schools close enough to their home for Zarghoona’s sisters to attend.

Zarghoona belongs to a very poor family. Her father is jobless due to his bad heath and old age. Her brother works as a vendor in a shop but doesn’t earn very much money. Thanks to the Zardozi office, Zarghoona is able to earn enough of an income to run the household.
 

Take a look at three beautiful gift sets available in our store that include embroidered products made by these women of Zardozi.


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Unique soy blend fair trade candles handcrafted by women artisans candles at Prosperity Candle

Amber & Bergamot

Warm and inviting, amber and bergamot combined with subtle notes of geranium, black cardamom, sandalwood and eucalyptus.

Balsam & Juniper Berry

Wonderfully fresh and seasonally-inspired, this woodland blend of balsam fir, cedarwood and juniper berry radiates the feeling of joy that comes with the holidays. 

Chai Tea

Green tea mixed with a cozy blend of cinnamon, clove, cardamom and peppermint reminds you of your favorite tea spot. A perennial fall favorite! 

Clementine & Lavender

A bright, fresh citrus scent of clementine, tangerine, bergamot and lemon… nicely balanced with French lavender. If you love citrus with a subtle twist, this is for you.

Coastal Seagrass

Clean and aromatic, gentle notes of salty seagrass and ocean water mingle with a hint of sweet coastal air… a blend that will transport you to a faraway shore with calming lapping waves.

Fig & Cedar

An aromatic blend of fresh fig, cedar and oakmoss brightened with grapefruit, lemon zest and a hint of orange. Wonderfully nuanced and just slightly sweet, it’s our new favorite fig scent.

French Lavender & Vanilla

Sweet and refreshing, French lavender and classic vanilla bean are paired to create this deeply comforting and indulgent scent. The perfect balance of two soothing favorites.

Pear & Freesia

Fresh pear mingles with floral notes of freesia and just a touch of patchouli. A joyful fragrance to evoke the freshness of your favorite garden and remind you of the beauty of nature.

Tobacco & Spice 

Dried tobacco leaves blended with teak, cedar and amber with a touch of spice and pimento berry essential oils... a nuanced scent to bring warmth inside.

Tonka & Oud

Wonderfully rich and earthy, tonka beans are paired with oud wood and topped with hints of balsam, rum, amaretto and musk. A restful scent with a captivating twist.

White Tea & Citrus 

An uplifting blend of white tea, bergamot, fig and fresh jasmine combined with a subtle hint of soft sandalwood. This is delightfully light and elegant.

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