In war-torn Afghanistan, the non-profit, women-led organization Aayenda aims to set the foundation for long-term, stable economic growth by opening an international market for young Afghan women artisans. The aptly named organization (Aayenda means ‘future’ in Dari) trains its artisans in jewelry-making, social media, e-commerce, and literacy in order to increase the artisans’ professionalism and heighten their awareness of what it takes to improve their communities. Women are employed in jobs from which they are traditionally excluded. A female presence alongside men in the workplace helps change widely held perceptions of gender and equality. Aayenda hopes to more than triple the number of women they employ within the next two years.
"If I can make enough money from my business I would like to build a school for girls in my own village. That would be good."
— Khala Zainab