Loving the San Francisco Bay Area... Community development, urban ministry, trying to defeat poverty, faith, religion, politics, good music, the quest for the perfect pizza, the Yankees, motorcycles... All in a 'day's life'

Monday, December 18, 2006

Q and A With Aziza Mohmmand

Found this on Guy Kawasaki's blog. 15 Afghai women participated in a class on entreupenship at Thunderbird. Aziza Mohmmand is from Afghanistan who, through a micro enterprise loan, is changing the destiny of many in her country. She makes soccer balls and other goods in her factory. She says,
When the interim government announced its arrival in Afghanistan, I came back to Kabul and started my nonprofit organization named Moscau, and it was soon registered at the Department of Economy.

In my NGO, I trained more than 2,000 men and women in baking, sewing, leather treatment, ball assembly, carpentry, electrical, blacksmith, plumbing, computer, and English language. In the ball assembly department, I hired 200 trainees who were widows and their family’s bread winners. They had no opportunities to work elsewhere.

My intention was to make a difference in the life of women in Afghanistan and keep them busy while they have an income with an active role in the growth and building of the new infrastructure of the country.

Q. Where did you get the money to start the company?
A. I started with $5,000 personal savings. I also took loans from friends in the beginning. I was lucky to have $3,000 worth of machinery from my previous business which I could use in the leather goods production.

Q: What can someone who’s just a “regular person” do to help your country?
A: Anybody in any country can help his/her fellow human being. However, in an advanced capitalist country such as the US, entrepreneurs can greatly help the Afghans who are novices in investment. Americans can further provide social, economic, and humane support for Afghans. I need your support in order to better help the women in Afghanistan who are expecting my support.

Q: How many people work for your company?
A: There are 220 widows who are the bread winners of their families in ball assembly and forty women in the leather goods department. I also work with five masters who specialize in treatment of leather goods.

Q: How many balls do you sell per year?
A: In the first years we didn’t sell much, maybe 5,000 or 6,000 per year. In 2006, however, we sold 10,000 soccer balls, more than 3,000 children soccer balls, and 1,000 volleyballs. Our revenue in leather goods department was also good. Right now we have a contract with UNICEF for 173,000 school bags.

In the Bible the book of James states that true religion is caring for widows and orphans. What a fabulous example of empowerment and social action. I aspire to do the same kinds of things - with the forgotten and marginalized in our country.

How many lives can $5000.00 change?

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