Building a Future
Parwin Asad, from Herat, has six children, four daughters and two sons. Three of her children are studying in school, whereas two others are at university level. Her husband is jobless and is suffering from chronic rheumatism. The family lives in district 6 of Herat city.
Parwin has been the main income earner for her family for the last ten years. She started learning weaving skills for various items, such as carpets, jackets, maps among others. Previously, she used to sew burqas and other female garments using a very old sewing machine. However, this equipment was not sufficient to cover all of her family expenses.
After Parwin participated in the Women Access to Finance & Islamic Finance Workshop, organized by the Afghanistan Microfinance Association (AMA) in Herat, she became familiar with loans and loan providers.
She applied and obtained approval for a loan of AFN 50,000 with The First Microfinance Bank (FMFB). With the loan, she bought some new, modern sewing machines to expand her business. Previously she had only one old manual machine; whereas now, she has three new modern electrical machines with one electrical cutter and some other necessary sewing equipment that enable her to produce more efficiently.
“Earlier I was only able to sew three to five veils daily but with these new machines I can sew up to 30 veils and my income has increased tenfold,” said Parwin. “Now I can cover all expenses of my family and I am able to pay for the treatment of my husband’s illness.”
She also employs two people providing them with monthly wages. In total, she sews 210 veils every week, as she has been contracted by four shops in Herat city. She has also helped some of her neighbors earn daily wages for distributing her finished veils to the different shops in the city.
Parwin is now able to afford her daughter’s fees in a private university. Her monthly expenditure on health and sanitation has also increased substantially. This includes securing clean water for home consumption to keep the family safe from various diseases. “I am satisfied with my current business and I am always trying to improve and expand it to increase my monthly income”, said Parwin.
Parwin is now saving part of her monthly income and she is planning to open a savings account with FMFB in the near future. Her message to her own daughter and all Afghan women: “Never give up and always find a way to resolve your problems and use every opportunity you get in life.”