Five years ago, Bamiyan women - who "want peace by our needles" - borrowed money and established the Art Bazzar and now they have half-million AFs.
Bamiyan Women Run 'Art Bazaar' To Sell Handicrafts
A group of Bamiyan women has established an Art Bazaar where they display and sell their handicrafts to internal and foreign tourists who visit the province.
The women said they established the Art Bazaar five years ago by borrowing an amount of money from a bank and now they have half million AFs in the bazaar.
The founders of the Bazaar are the women who were living in very difficult circumstances in Iran and Pakistan during civil war in Afghanistan.
The Bazaar is located near the Buddha sculptures in the center of the province and young women are running it.
One of the women who has a shop in the bazaar said she has managed to send her sons and daughters to school by means of her shop income.
“Since I was a young girl, I used to make handicraft at home and now it is about three years that I have been working in a handicraft factory,” said Kobara, a resident of Bamiyan.
Uzra Lali, one of the founders of the Bazaar, says that five years ago she and a group of women borrowed some money from a bank and established the Art Bazaar.
Lali’s husband also works with her in the shop. According to Lali, first they had 4,000AFs, but now they have hundreds of thousands of AFs. Lali has a handicraft factory named Salsal Handicraft Factory.
“One of our problems is that no one invites us to exhibitions overseas, especially in Europe where we ought to display our handicraft industries and needlework to show that we are women and we want peace by our needles,” said Lali.
Zahra, another seller in the Art Bazaar, also has a Handicraft Factory in Dara-e-Azhdar outside of Bamiyan city where 40 women are making 60 types of handmade items.
Her handicraft factory, named Gawharshad Handicrafts Factory, sells its products in Holland, India and inside the country.
“When I returned from Iran and came to Bamiyan, there were lots of wrong traditions. One was that women were not allowed to go to the Bazaar. I was one of the women who opened shops in Bamiyan bazaar and we asked help from the women who had handicrafts and needlework. At the beginning a small group of women started handicraft shops and they were worried that their men would not allow them,” said Zahra.
“In this bazaar, we sell the handicraft, needlework and handmade products for women,” said Fatima Mohmmadi, another seller in the Art Bazaar.
In Bamiyan mostly those women are involved in handicrafts because their families are poor and do not have a good life.
For most of Bamiyan women, handicraft industries are the second source of income after the agriculture.