The Ripple Effect

Blog , 2015-03-25

For the past decade, ARZU has worked at the grassroots level to empower Afghan women. Our outcomes testify to the power of this model.  ARZU women earn 68% more than the average Afghan, 100% are literate, and women speak of a greater sense of confidence and independence.  But, this is only one part of the story.

This fall, ARZU did a comprehensive survey of the male members of ARZU families, women who are not enrolled in the ARZU program and key leaders in the villages where we work.  These answers prove that ARZU has systematically shifted the paradigm of a patriarchal society to one where women are economically empowered, literate and have the resources to care for themselves, their families and their communities.

“I thought that only men could work and earn money or be educated. Now, I think differently.  My wife weaves for ARZU and earns an income.  She and my daughters are more educated than me!  Because of ARZU they now have a role like a man in our family and in society.” -Ebrahim, 36 years old

“I used to think that a woman could not do any work except household chores and take care of the children. My only hope for my daughters was that they find a man to marry.   Then my wife started weaving for ARZU.  Per the social contract that I signed, she started literacy classes and all of my children, even the girls, attended school.  Now, I hope for my daughters to pursue higher education and became a teacher or doctor.” – Qualm Sakhi, 52 years old  

“I have seen many NGO’s come and go.  ARZU has been the only steady source of support for our village.   Many families work with ARZU and their lives have visibly changed and these changes affect us all for the better.” – Shokria, 20 years old
“Most of the families in our village struggle daily. This causes the men to treat the women poorly.  They are seen as a burden.  I have a neighbor who is a widow, since she joined ARZU she could improve her life, all her children are at school and she is pleased with her life. ”–Shamsi, 24 years old
“ARZU has created very effective programs in this village. Here, most of the men and women are jobless.  Through the ARZU weaving program many families now have steady income. Most of the women were illiterate and had many problems in their daily life. Now, they are literate.  The women have more authority in their families and in society. They would like to have a better life and they are more hopeful than before.”– Safar, 45 years old, Head of the Shura in Shashpul Village

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