Company

Kandahar-company

ABOUT

Kandahar Treasure is a social enterprise dedicated to providing employment opportunities for women in Kandahar, Afghanistan, providing women with the training and support to produce exquisite embroidered pieces using the tradition of Khamak. Khamak is a centuries old embroidery tradition where geometric designs are embroidered onto a base fabric counting the weave of the fabric without using a trace. Women create their own patterns inspired by Islamic Art and this talent is embroidered onto fabrics using their inherent artistry. Women in southern Afghanistan have embellished their homes and the clothes of their loved ones with this technique for centuries and Kandahar Treasure has brought this art form for the first time to the world market. The vision of Kandahar Treasure is to give value and importance to the fine authentic work of the women of southern Afghanistan as this work is the main form of expression of the women of this region.

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MISSION

At Kandahar Treasure, we are dedicated to empowering women. We are successfully accomplishing our mission by:
  • Providing economic independence to women who are home-bound – an important first step in the attainment of their rights and freedom;
  • Offering women an opportunity to provide financially for themselves and their families;
  • Enhancing the value of a woman inside her home through her income;
  • Raising awareness among women of Kandahar about the importance of contributing to the family financially and of economics within the society at large;
  • Serving as a clearinghouse of information to our network of women on educational opportunities for women and children, social events for women, government-sponsored and NGO programs, and health and hygiene education that is not otherwise available to the majority of participants in Kandahar;
  • Exposing the art form of Kandahar embroidery to a national and international audience;
  • Buildubg a brand and sustainable business model to ensure that we are able to empower women for years to come;
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CORE VALUES

  • Ensure women and women’s issues are an integral part of all of Kandahar Treasure’s planning and strategizing.
  • Dedicate energy to enhancing women’s economic independence and meeting their needs in other areas (managing finances, health and hygeine).
  • Commit to working together to strengthen our collective voice, power and influence.
  • Function independently from any political party, government or religious institution.
  • Promote and sustain leadership that is participatory and inclusive.
  • Ensure transparency, accountability and responsibility in the use of our financial resources.
  • Strive for excellence, while being creative, bold and courageous.

IMPACT

2016 marks Kandahar Treasure’s 8th anniversary successfully operating in

“the world’s worst place to be a woman.”

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Kandahar Treasure has employed over one thousand women over the past 8 years.

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Over one third of the women that Kandahar Treasure employs are widows who would otherwise be destitute.

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Women employed by Kandahar Treasure have never earned a wage and are able to support their families for the first time.

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90% of artisans spend their wages supporting their families.

HISTORY & CULTURE

Kandahar province remains an important political and economic hub within Afghanistan. However, this status has not enabled women in Kandahar to break from the cultural and social restrictions on their livelihood, development and progress. The history of Afghanistan has not been kind to its women, particularly in rural areas, and recent violence has further added fuel to the notion that it is unsafe for women to come out and participate in the public arena. An important fact that many leaders in Afghanistan have consistently neglected is that, in a traditional society like Afghanistan, plagued by poverty and war for more than three decades, the number of widows has been on an exponential rise.  Moreover, with constant violence, there is no infrastructure in place to address the needs of these vulnerable women and their children. Kandahar Treasure was founded in January 2008 with the idea that Afghanistan needs to build its economy with its own production. A nation that has heavily depended on international aid since 2001 needs to build its own economy and sustain its people.

The centuries old Khamak of Kandahar is slowly becoming an endangered tradition among women artisans in this region. Machine embroidery that looks similar but made with a fraction of the cost has created strong competition. The goal of Kandahar Treasure is to give life and value to the art – carrying with it not only history but tradition and the voice of women in Kandahar, Afghanistan. In highly illiterate societies such as Kandahar, Afghanistan, this art form substitutes women’s expression that would otherwise be written in poems or stories. Kandahari Khamak is the story of the women of Kandahar – creating beauty and peace in the midst of a very violent and unstable society.

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KT LEADERSHIP

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RANGINA HAMIDI – Rangina creates change in her world

As founder and president of Kandahar Treasure, the first women’s private social enterprise in Kandahar, Afghanistan, Rangina provides life changing economic opportunity for 300 Afghan women, giving them a for profit platform for Kandahar’s unique embroidery work. As one of Kandahar’s leading voices for Afghan women, Rangina has guided the development of groundbreaking networks for women, establishing pioneering women’s gatherings, social programs and activities for all women in Kandahar. These forums led to a historic moment for Kandahar women when on International Women’s Day in 2009 they marched for peace at the famous Kherqa Shrine.

Rangina’s aim is permanent and lasting change to Kandahar’s long history of violence. She believes that women are the critical ingredient which can help bring peace to Afghanistan. It is the mission of Rangina’s work as a women’s advocate and in her leadership of Kandahar Treasure to empower women economically so as to build their influence toward peace. Rangina says, “the women of Kandahar Treasure are not only proud of their beautiful and unique handwork but stand with pride to the world that they do not need pity or charity, rather they see themselves as contributing world citizens.”

Her work in Kandahar began when Rangina returned to the country in 2003 compelled by the tragedies befalling her countrywomen. She had escaped her native Afghanistan in 1981, at the age of four, during the Soviet occupation. Rangina moved first to Pakistan and then in 1988, settled in the United States with her family, receiving her education at the University of Virginia. Upon her return to Kandahar she served as manager of the Women’s Income Generation Project with Afghans for Civil Society, a grassroots organization dedicated to the social development of southern Afghanistan.

Rangina has been internationally recognized for her work with women. She was selected as one of 18 finalists for the CNN 2007 Hero Award, and chosen as a “Personality of the Week” by Radio Free Europe in January 2008. She has been heard on numerous radio programs including NPR, the BBC and Voice of America and has been quoted in international publications including the TIMES Asia magazine, The Globe and Mail, Der Speigel, Business Week, The Guardian and Telegraph.

She is a sought after speaker and participant at conferences around the world. Rangina has been selected for prominent professional and academic training programs, including Project Artemis of Thunderbird University and the business development organization BPeace both of whom assisted in the launch of Kandahar Treasure. She has joined to serve as a Council Member to US-Afghan Women’s Council since May 2015.

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