Every day, all over the world, USAID brings peace to those who endure violence, health to those who struggle with sickness, and prosperity to those who live in poverty. It is these individuals — these uncounted thousands of lives — that are the true measure of USAID’s successes and the true face of USAID's programs.
Egmend Daija has always made an art of his work as an artisan, designing and creating by hand one-of-a-kind purses, briefcases and just about every other kind of product that can be sewn from leather. Daija has replaced the leather interiors of antique cars, upholstered barber chairs and even fabricated cases used to cradle gifts from the Kosovo Government to the White House and the Vatican.
“When I design something, I see it already made before I even start,” says Daija, who excelled in painting and drama before starting as a leatherworker’s apprentice at age 14.
USAID, through its Young Entrepreneurs Program, which ran from September 2010 through September 2013, helped Pleurat Buçaj craft the business plan that has guided his nursery’s successful launch.
In late April 2012, the mayor of Osh, Kyrgyzstan, issued a resolution to extend Monuev Street by 480 meters—which would displace 22 houses in the process. On May 22, Osh’s chief architect announced the plan to local media and informed them of ongoing community meetings and housing appraisals to compensate those to be affected by the city development efforts.
Toorpekai’s thriving new business and boundless self-confidence illustrate the change that can come about when Afghan women learn that they have legal rights. Four decades after she lost her father, Toorpekai received her share of his property, changing her life forever.
It is an upbeat statement and Mr Mohammad goes on to explain why the building work was so important. The school was so badly damaged, he recalls, that most of the classrooms and toilets were unusable. “The doors and windows were broken,” he adds. It made for low morale among students and teachers alike. Every day, fewer children came to class and many teachers sought work elsewhere. Shamal High School’s decline was a matter of great concern because it was the only one in the district.
It took just $2,000 to transform Bibi Sediqa Musawi’s house. But it changed her life and that of her soldier husband and their three children. Till she heard about home improvement loans, the family lived in a cramped windowless house without a kitchen or a front door. It was all they could afford.
Abdul Matin is hard at work in his ceramics workshop in Kabul but he regards each turquoise bowl as so much more than a piece of pottery. To Mr Matin, it represents the history and traditions of Afghanistan, more than 400 years of creative skills passed down from generation to generation.
Like many Afghan refugees who fled Taliban rule in the 1990s, Laila returned from Iran in 2011, glad to be home but worried about the future. The mother of five was unsure how she would keep her family fed. It took two classes in rearing silkworms for Laila to realize that this might be the answer.
Last updated: January 20, 2015