For 30 years, Suratgar’s press was well-known for its hand-painted billboards and customer service. But by 2013, digital printing had arrived in Mazar-e-Sharif and Suratgar Printing Press’s outdated production processes couldn’t compete. Suratgar knew he had to upgrade, but never had sufficient collateral to secure a bank loan.
Hanan Shah Agha proudly calls himself a full-time motorbike mechanic. It is a marked step up from being unemployed and without prospects, before he graduated from a 78-day vocational training program on motorcycle repair.
Nahid Alefi saw a business opportunity in the increasing numbers of Afghan women working outside the family home. They needed help with the housework, she reasoned, and set up the Shahre Safa Cleaning Services Co. in Kabul.
Nasima’s* life changed after she learned how to sew for a living. The vocational training meant that she could stay home and work, while keeping an eye on her sick husband as well. And her daughter could return to school. Until then, Nasima had to keep the child home while she went out to work as a cleaner.
Afghanistan’s centuries-old carpet industry is looking ahead to a good year for exports with seven carpetmakers signing deals worth millions with buyers from the United States, Turkey and Europe.
Last updated: May 20, 2015