Landmine clearance opens door to local enterprise

Samira moved to the town of Jebrail in western Afghanistan after landmine clearance work had made the area safe. She previously lived in Iran with her mother, who had taught her how to sew but, as a refugee, she had never been able to earn an income because it was hard to gain the trust of local Iranian families. Samira and her husband rented a house in town and she began to earn an income by sewing clothes for local residents. Word of her talents quickly spread, and as the number of people settling in Jebrail increased, so her customer base grew. Before long, she and her husband had enough savings to purchase a small plot of land and build a shop for Samira.

Members of the Livelihood Team are shown around Samira’s tailoring shop, where she not only sells various products but also teaches local women how to sew

Samira makes clothes and sells cosmetics and sewing materials in the shop. She now earns significantly more than her husband, who is a soldier, but their combined income is more than sufficient to cover all their household expenses, including the cost of schooling for their children and an annual payment of 50,000 Afs to Samira’s parents. Without the money Samira brings to the household, her husband’s salary would not be enough to cover all
these costs.

Numerous other women have followed Samira’s example and started shops of their own, thereby contributing directly to their household economy

Samira is delighted that her success has inspired others in the community. Many other women in Jebrail have followed her example and set up their own shops, as hairdressers, carpet weavers or beauticians. Some have used the sewing skills they acquired from Samira’s vocational training to make clothes for their families, whilst others sell their handiwork at the local Bazaar. 

By strengthening local capacity to produce and sell clothes and other handiwork, residents of Jebrail no longer have to travel to Herat City in order to purchase these items, thereby channelling more funds into the local economy.

None of this would have been possible as long as landmines and other hazardous debris prevented people from rebuilding their lives.