Siblings Weave Work and School to Support Their Family in Afghanistan

Abozar and his sister Maliha weave their future in Kabul.
Abozar Mesbah and his sister Maliha are earning enough to support their family of 12.
USAID
New job opportunities allow brother and sister to stay in school
“Our income was low and could not meet our needs, but now we can support our family and other sisters and brothers to study.”

March 2017—At 22 years old, Abozar Mesbah was faced with the responsibility of providing for his entire family, including a brother, six sisters, his parents and grandparents. The Afghan family had left their home for Pakistan during the most dangerous days of faction infighting in Kabul and were struggling to get back on their feet after their recent return to the capital.

With the family unable to make ends meet, Abozar and his sister Maliha planned to put their education on hold to look for work. In a country where 63 percent of the population falls under the age of 25, youth unemployment and employment for women are ongoing challenges to the financial stability of Afghan families.

An investment partnership between the Kazimi Allah Dad Rug Production Co. and USAID’s Assistance in Building Afghanistan by Developing Enterprises (ABADE) program made it possible for the company to expand production and hire 231 full-time employees, including youth and 75 women.

Abozar and 20-year-old Maliha were hired for positions in purchasing and human resources. The new jobs have meant that they can contribute to the family’s finances and continue toward their degrees at Kabul University. The siblings have enough left over each month to allow their younger siblings to attend high school, with the hopes that they will graduate and go on to college, creating a bright future for the family.

“We have 12 in our family,” says Abozar. “My father also works, but our income was low and could not meet our needs. Now we can support our family and other sisters and brothers to study.”

Currently studying sociology, Maliha is able to work around her school schedule and is dedicated to building a better future for the women in her family. In Afghanistan’s conservative culture, many do not support their daughters’ education past the 6th grade, but Maliha is passionate about the future of Afghan youth. “I want my sisters and brother to get an education,” she says. “I don’t want them to sacrifice their dreams. They will choose their own paths. I want my sisters to be leaders, role models for other girls in the community.”

With Maliha and Abozar’s support, their 19-year-old sister, Um-ul-Bane, is preparing to graduate high school and join the two at university in Kabul. And their five younger siblings are all enrolled in school, with eyes to the future.

Maliha strongly believes that financial independence will make women safer in her homeland. “I think if girls work and become self-reliant, they will be less likely to be subjected to violence,” she says. “I want to work to provide a new future for Afghanistan.”

Since 2012, ABADE has formed successful investment partnerships with almost 300 businesses across Afghanistan, paving the way for the creation of more than 9,000 jobs and promoting the growth of small and medium enterprises in the country.

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Last updated: March 13, 2017

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