USAID Originally posted December There are plentiful accounts of oppressed women in Afghanistan in the international media, development reports, and the academic literature.
One of the many awful aspects of the extreme form of Islam practiced by the Afghan Taliban is their complete subjugation of women. Women are not allowed to leave their homes unless accompanied by a male relative. They are no Gale Tzemach Lemmon offers us a profile in courage about a young woman who defied the daunting odds in Taliban-controlled Kabul to established a business that offered employment, income and hope to her family and neighbors, at a time when all three were in very short supply.
They are not allowed to work outside the home. When in public, women must at all times wear the head-to-toe-covering burkah, also known as a chadri.
The list of forbiddens goes on like a list of biblical begats, and shifts with the moods of local commanders. When the Taliban took over control of most of Afghanistan inthey made their version of Sharia the law of the land, and a dark age or a darker age, anyway, as it had not been a frolicsome garden spot before fell over the land.
However, even in the darkest of times, there are always some points of light. Kamela Sediqi was one shining example. Sediqi and her family were Tajiks, the second largest ethnic group in the country.
The Taliban are Pashtun, the largest. Remaining resistance to Taliban rule was centered north of Kabul among groups of largely Tajik ethnicity. Believing that all ethnic Tajiks were thus suspect, the Taliban engaged in a widespread campaign of oppression, particularly against Tajik males.
He fled to the north, placing leadership of the family in the hands of the young Kamela, a recent graduate of the Kabul Teacher Training academy.
As new head of her family, Kamela struggled to find some way for the family to earn income. The education system was in tatters, particularly for women, so teaching was not an option. Although she had no experience with tailoring, she recognized that there was an unmet need and, with the assistance of her expert-seamstress sister, Malekheh, and her many other sisters, she began a small business sewing clothing for sale by local tailors.
Everyone who worked at her home was thrilled to have any work at all, given how difficult it was for women to work in this males-only world.
Lemmon tells how the business thrived and kept growing during the trying time of Taliban control.
After their removal from power inher business boomed, branching off into various other directions. She was also recruited by the NGOs that had returned to Kabul, to try to find ways to use her expertise to educate a new generation of entrepreneurial women.
It reads very quickly. She communicates quite well the sense of ubiquitous danger and fear that permeated the country. It is not an idle concern.
There are many stories to be told about Afghanistan and the Taliban. However, it is not the only deal. Lest one believe that this is a story of a poor girl making good, Kamela did not come from a poor family. In the very beginning we are introduced to her as a teaching institute graduate, which speaks of the availability of resources beyond the norm in this poor country.
That the family had a spare apartment that they rented to a doctor for income indicates more of the same. While the family may not have been wealthy by American standards, they were pretty well off by Kabul standards. We work with what we have.
But the significance is in what one extrapolates from the experience. I get the impression that Lemmon sees entrepreneurship in almost religious terms.
If only we would let people make businesses everything would be fabulous.Much of the oppression of women in Afghanistan is attributed to Pashtun practices: male elders having a say over marriages of young women, high bride prices given to the father of the bride.
When the troops withdraw from Afghanistan next year, many fear a terrible backlash.
their lives after Taliban oppression – and finds them at risk once more are handed through open shop. Afghanistan's Veil Of Oppression. The United States has imposed economic sanctions on Afghanistan and refused to officially recognize the Taliban. Dad surprises daughter with dream dress.
Mar 15, · In Kabul, A 'Dressmaker' Sows Entrepreneurial Seeds Kamila Sidiqi braved Taliban restrictions and an oppressive environment to open a dressmaking shop in her home, eventually employing over Feb 08, · She rose from slave to prominent dressmaker for high society in Washington D.C.
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