View Full Version : Textile Art & Apparel Academy for Women in Herat

Admin Khan
07-07-2010, 10:48 PM
Purpose: Initiative to promote education and economic opportunities for Afghan women in Herat Province. (Individual and corporate donor support)
Enrollment: 250 in various classes
Certification requirements: 6-month full-time enrollment
Classes: Software, PC languages, math, languages (English and Pashto), textile design and apparel production

History and Overview

Afghanistan was known for its crafts, jewelry, textiles and delicate needlework. The Herat region of northern Afghanistan has historically been the center of silk production, textiles, and a burgeoning garment industry. However, this industry like the rest of the country was devastated and dismantled by over two decades of war.

The industry first experienced modern disruptions during the Afghan-Russian war of 1979-1989, when supply routes and exports were effectively cut off. All three sectors -- silk production, textile production, and garment manufacture -- were further eroded by the establishment of the Taliban fundamentalist government. Women, historically the mainstay of the garment and textile industries, were not allowed access to factory work, education, even literacy.

Many of the men and women skilled in the traditional arts were forced to migrate and many are still employed at very low wages at factories in Iran and Pakistan. They are unable to return to Afghanistan due to a lack of job opportunities, infrastructure and market chain for these products. Women currently working in this sector inside of Afghanistan face many obstacles. Women in Herat have restricted mobility and are forbidden to work with males. They are often taken advantage of due to lack of direct access or knowledge of the markets. Some of them are paid less than $50 to work at home on pieces that require nearly three to four months to complete.

During the last three years, interest in arts and crafts of Afghanistan has been increasing. Today, the bustling Chicken Street (the antiques and crafts market) in Kabul is testimony to continued interest in local art products. However, many of these products are purchased for souvenirs and do not have much enduring practical value. Especially locally produced apparel, which usually displays delicate and time-consuming needlework, is made with outdated designs and cheap fabrics that bleed and shrink. Difficulties such as these issues make it difficult for the artists to price their products accordingly and capture the value of their craft.

The U.S.-Afghan Reconstruction Council (US-ARC) has undertaken a business, employment, and local capacity development strategy in Herat to contribute to revitalization of traditional arts of Afghanistan through private sector/economic development, training and jobs creation. With relatively modest capital support, it is believed these industries can be revived.

Project Summary

The aim of this project is: i) to apply a market-driven strategy to rediscover and enhance the delicate traditional arts of Afghanistan and present them to consumers through modern applications; and ii) to develop a profitable enterprise for women with skills in traditional needlepoint hand-crafts and sewing that facilitates exercise in quality improvement, product development to meet modern-day demand, marketing, and institution building.

Project Description

This project proposes to use the assistance of established apparel industry and experts to provide and apply a market-driven strategy to rediscover and enhance the delicate traditional arts of Afghanistan and introduce them to international markets through modern applications, develop a profitable enterprise for women with skills in traditional crafts, facilitate exercise in quality improvement, product development, marketing, and institution building. Also, the project aims to establish a venue for women to improve their skills, gain knowledge of modern application of their arts, produce varying products that can meet both local and international standards, and earn adequate and above subsistence wages.

Such a revival will bring infrastructural improvements to Afghanistan, support literacy (and ultimately democratic institution-building), and generate hard-currency industries for export.

Pictures of the Academy:

Pictures of the products:


07-07-2010, 11:45 PM
TFS, Admin Khana.

07-08-2010, 11:51 PM
thank you admin