Factory Produces Garments, Jobs and Ambition in Afghanistan

Mahsuma Sultani is running a factory in Mazar-e-Sharef.
Mahsuma Sultani is running a factory in Mazar-e-Sharef.
USAID
Entrepreneur employs women and claims share of clothing market
“We believe in our strength and are enjoying doing our work. I know that the market imports clothes from abroad, too, but a small part of the market is ours, and this means a lot for us.”

May 2017—“The dream I have for my future is to run my own fashion production company, where we create our own clothing designs,” said 22-year-old Mahsuma Sultani.

She initially learned tailoring from her neighbor in 2014 so she could be financially independent and support her family. She subsequently participated in USAID’s Women’s Leadership Development training for women aged 18-30 called “Jawana,” or “sapling,” during which she developed managerial and leadership skills.

Sultani wanted to apply what she had learned during the training, so, with limited resources, she opened a factory in her community as her practical final project. She opened the factory almost a year ago with five colleagues from the training. The name of the factory is Poyia, which translates to development, movement and dynamism, reflecting Sultani’s own ambitions as well as the hope she has for the factory.

Like every young entrepreneur, Sultani needed financial resources when she started the project, and borrowed money from a loan company. She started taking her first steps on the path to her vision when she bought five big sewing machines.

“The best thing I learned from Jawana was the leadership skills and motivation, and it helped a lot creating my company though I was faced with numerous challenges,” said Sultani.

A year later, Sultani’s factory has grown into a well-run business where she has created jobs for Afghan women, including students and housewives. The business supplies products to clothing shops rather than private customers, allowing Sultani to produce and sell a larger number of clothes to a number of shops located throughout the markets of Mazar e Sharef. Last winter alone, the factory supplied 500 overcoats to the shops. Most of the clothes produced by the factory are designed by Sultani. She also accepts designs from the shops she sells to and customizes designs according to market demand.

“We believe in our strength and are enjoying doing our work. I know that the market imports clothes from abroad, too, but a small part of the market is ours, and this means a lot for us,” Sultani states proudly.

The Promote Women’s Leadership Development program, which runs from 2014 to 2019, is designed to prepare Afghanistan’s young women to become leaders in government, business and civil society. More than 2,600 students have graduated to date from its Jawana component.

LINKS

Follow @USAIDAfghan, on Facebook, on Flickr, on YouTube

Last updated: May 15, 2017

Share This Page