Tailoring Tradition to Create New Opportunities
FINCA Afghanistan client Nafisa
Photo: FINCA Staff
Cultivating a sense of community isn’t always easy, especially when you can’t freely move around your neighborhood without a man accompanying you, or when you’re faced with the possibility that explosions can happen anywhere, any time. But that doesn’t keep FINCA Afghanistan client Nafisa from sharing her tailoring expertise with 20 students, eager to learn her secrets for success, and building a thriving business, both at home and abroad, that’s opening new doors for her daughter.
Nafisa is 50 years old and has decades of experience designing and sewing traditional Afghani dresses. Her expertise and attention to detail are well known in Mandavi, where she lives with her husband, daughter and two sons. But her tailoring skills are known beyond the confines of her community, as she sells her creations to five shops in Kabul, as well as filling orders that come in from Canada and the US.
Building her business has had its share of challenges. Getting her first loan wasn’t easy, as reputable organizations weren’t easy to find. And being a woman didn’t help. But she took out several loans from another international microfinance organization, and things went along well, until that program came up against its own problems. However, they knew that Nafisa was a good client with a solid credit history, so they recommended she seek out the local FINCA credit officer, who welcomed her warmly, and she’s had a successful relationship ever since.
Today, Nafisa’s 20 students not only learn from her, they help her produce the orders that continue to increase her business. And while she takes great pride in their accomplishments, her greatest sense of pride comes from the fact that her 22-year-old daughter is in college, studying to be a nurse, opening up a whole new career path that wouldn’t be possible without the support she’s received through FINCA loans.
“Without FINCA’s loans,” Nafisa says, “my family, and especially my daughter, would not have the kind of life we have today. I am so grateful that we’re looking at a brighter future.”