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Afghan Embroidered Ornament

Item # 32400
No longer available

This holiday season, celebrate peace and love in a new and eloquent way -- by purchasing a beautiful handmade tree ornament to support an organization in Afghanistan that helps Afghani women, children, and disabled landmine victims. The Women of Hope Project offers impoverished Afghani women training programs and resources to meet daily food and food security needs, economic development opportunities, and vocational and business training. Among those skills are the intricate sewing and embroidery that created these beautiful handmade ornaments -- rich with texture, detail, and love.

Ornament is red with designs and words stitched in gold. In script calligraphy of Dari -- an Afghani dialect of Persian -- the ornaments read Peace or Love. Ornaments hang on twisted gold string and a gold string tassel hangs from the bottom corner. Ornament measures 3" x 3" (7.6 x 7.6 cm) sq. Tassel is 2.5" (6.4 cm) L. Handmade in and fairly traded from Afghanistan.

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Artisan: Women of Hope Project

Artisan Women of Hope Project

The Women of Hope Project is an organization in Kabul, Afghanistan that seeks to restore hope and dignity to women who have been oppressed and denied personal freedom, health, opportunity, and respect. In a country where women are often forbidden from getting an education or seeking work outside of their homes, the project empowers women by providing training in embroidery skills, literacy classes and small business development and management courses. Many of these women are widowed or have husbands who are now physically disabled as a result of the war and can no longer provide for the family. By providing work that the artisans can do from home, Women of Hope enables these women to provide an income for their family when it was previously impossible. Women can now pay for their children to attend school and get the education that was never available to them.

Women of Hope works directly with about 120 women, but countless lives benefit from the project. Each woman that participates in Women of Hope goes on to train at least six other women and most have developed neighborhood groups where they teach others to produce goods. Previously, their social lives were limited to interaction with those living within their family compounds, but now they have a special social network where they can share their joys and frustrations in a safe and loving environment.

Artisan Nazanee

At 45 years old, Nazanee is the mother of eight children. During the war, she and her family fled to Iran as refugees, though she describes her life in Iran as "unlucky." On their journey to Iran, they were abused, and once in Iran, the abuse continued and they were denied work permits. She and her family had to find odd jobs and beg for support from their family. Her husband was captured by enemy forces and tortured, and as a result, suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and was too afraid to leave the house.

A friend noticed Nazanee's desperate situation and brought her to the Women of Hope Project's Embroidery Center to see if they could help her. Nazanee brought items from her wedding dowry to sell, and Women of Hope was impressed with her artistry. Soon, Nazanee began working with the Women of Hope Project. Now, she beams when she talks about how God has blessed her family, how her children are going to school and her husband is starting to take short walks outside near their home.

Artisan Satara

Life has always been difficult for Satara; from the time she was born, war has been raging all around her. When she was a young girl, her father, brother and a younger sister were killed in a bombing raid of their neighborhood in Kabul. Her mother has never fully recovered emotionally from the tragic loss and has not been able to work since then. Though Satara was just a girl at the time, she had to find a way to support her family. The Taliban was still in power and women were not allowed to work and were strictly forbidden from walking on the street without a male relative. Since all of her male relatives had been killed, she had few options but to beg door to door for the mercy of her neighbors (who were also suffering from extreme poverty) to give her their leftover bread and small change to buy food for her family. Living with her sister and mother in one room of a small mud-brick house, Satara managed to scrape by.

Eventually she came to the embroidery center with the hope of selling some pieces to buy food for her family. The quality of her work was exquisite but was sewn on old scraps of clothing since she had never had any money to spend on good pieces of fabric. Recognizing her potential, Women of Hope invited Satara to join the project and gave her a starting supply of fabric, silk thread and needles. Satara wept at the prospect of finally being able to practice her skills with such fine materials. Today, Satara is one of the finest producers at Women of Hope, and earns enough money to pay her mother's medical bills, send her sister to school, pay the rent and supply the family with clothing and food. Now, when Satara tells her story, she cries tears of joy that she has been able to overcome such overwhelming heartache, poverty and suffering. She sees a bright future ahead of her.

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