Ejaad is an empowerment project that fosters social change for illiterate and semi-literate, disadvantaged Afghan women and girls.
It provides women and girls in Afghanistan economic and educational opportunities in a safe and discreet Kabul workshop and learning center, while promoting traditional embroidered craft reflecting Afghanistan’s rich artistic and cultural heritage.
Ejaad grew from the desire of a small group of friends connected across the globe to provide economic opportunity for a close knit community of Afghan women to create and sell traditional and contemporary embroidery designs. Designs that carry with them stories passed on down through families. We want to empower Afghan women as artisans, and through their work as talented embroiders, tell a story of culture and creativity. We believe that the artisan and the story behind each product they create is as valuable as the product itself.
“When women have economic opportunities to become
financially independent, they are more likely to speak up about
their dreams, know their value, and believe in themselves as
contributing members of society.”
In March 2017, one of Ejaad’s co-founders visited Kabul for the first time to stay with the family of our Afghan co-founder, and met the women in the project. She experienced the warmth and hospitality ubiquitous of Afghan culture. With generous donations from friends and family across the globe, sewing machines were bought, embroidery training took place, and connections and friendships were sealed. A door was opened to better understand a country of rich cultural heritage, stunning landscape and diverse and warm peoples.
With a foundation in place, perseverance and belief in what we were doing, we began to actualize our goals and vision. Our project is small, collaborative and community driven with a shared vision. Our overheads are low, we source all our materials from local markets. Every design is hand stitched, often taking hours to create. The women facilitate their own workshop sessions sharing skills and supporting each other.
Receiving an education is at the heart of what we value. Having a Workshop and Learning Center means we can provide classes for women who have never learned to read or write. It opens doors for those women that would like the challenge of learning English and computer skills. Being able to access a safe neighborhood learning center, where cultural and family restrictions otherwise prevent them from attending public education facilities in Kabul is a dream come true for many of our Ejaad women.
Providing the opportunity for selling their products in a global market means our artisans can can earn a dignified income and be economically self-sufficient. Knowing they are contributing to their families increases self-assurance, and brings a sense of pride knowing their work is treasured and valued around the world.