Our Mission:

Partner with a group of women weavers of Bamiyan province in central Afghanistan to build a business that improves the lives of the weavers, their families, and the community.

 
 
 
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What is Barak?

Barak is woven from local wool and boiled to make a fabric that is both wind and water- resistant. Depending on the thickness of the weave, the fabric is either dense and heavy to be made into outerwear for the harsh winters in Afghanistan, or is lighter weight and suitable for other kinds of clothing such as scarves and tailored fashions.  To see how barak is traditionally woven click here


Who are the women weavers of Bamiyan?

The weavers live in and around Bamiyan city (where the large statues of Buddha were until they were destroyed by the Taliban in 2001). Many of the weavers live in caves in the cliffs above the valley. They have little money and do weaving and sewing to supplement their families’ income.

 

Masooma

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Bakht Bagum

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Jamila

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Najma

 

This is Zahra's daughter Najma showing what is available in Zahra's store.

*Audio responses kindly narrated by Fatima Saidi

 

 
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Mary MacMakin

These women are assisted by Mary MacMakin, an American weaver who has lived in Afghanistan for several decades. (She was recently granted honorary Afghan citizenship by President Ashraf Ghani.)

 


 
Zahra Kazemi  - Local Afghan Entrepreneur

Zahra Kazemi

For several years Mary has worked with Zahra Kazemi, a local entrepreneur, to teach sewing and handicraft skills to these women. Zahra has taken business courses in Kabul.

Zahra sells their products on consignment in a small shop located in Bamiyan. Her plans are to work with the weavers to market their products in the capital Kabul, and in the countries surrounding Afghanistan. Her partners in the United States will be investigating selling the barak fabric and products made from that fabric in the West.

Current Goal

 

Provide $10,000 in weaving supplies, training, and employment for eight women to provide and sell barak in Bamiyan and Kabul. 

 
 
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We have monthly Skype calls with Zahra in which we discuss how things are going.  In recent calls she has told us her priorities for the next six months.

  1. Need to rent more space for women to work, for an area to receive visitors, and for a third loom. 

  2. Increase salaries of the women from $2/day - $3/day.

  3. Build a third loom.  There is growing interest among women in the area to learn to weave on the new loom. 

 

*If you prefer to send a check, please mail it to

Phil Smith, Treasurer, Friends of Afghanistan, 840 Janet Avenue, Lancaster, Pennsylvania 17601.  Please put GPIA on the memo line.  


 
 
 

Our Fundraising Goal:  In order to continue to support the weavers’ project in Bamiyan for six months while it is in the process of becoming a self-sustaining cooperative, we need to raise $10,000 by July 15. 

 
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What Your Donation Can Do



 

*If you prefer to send a check, please mail it to

Phil Smith, Treasurer, Friends of Afghanistan, 840 Janet Avenue, Lancaster, Pennsylvania 17601.  Please put GPIA on the memo line.  

 

WHO WE ARE

We who are supporting the Bamiyan Weavers are a group of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers who served in Afghanistan and other interested Americans.