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Self-aware dressmaker

Ughul an der Nähmaschine

My name is Ughul. I’m around 30 years old, but unsure of my exact age. Around 4 years ago we came back to Afghanistan from Pakistan. We includes myself, my husband and my four children. Before that we lived in a Turkmen settlement in Quetta in western Pakistan. The support I had from GIZ means I now work as a dressmaker and can support my family.

It began with me learning about the training opportunities offered by Better Makers Social Organization (BMSO). Some of our relatives had used these opportunities, and I also wanted to apply for a place. My aim was to train to be a dressmaker. It wasn’t easy convincing my husband and the other men in our family that it was the right thing to do. Most people living in our region near Mazar-e Sharif are returnees from Pakistan. Their way of life is very traditional: women don’t usually go out, they just do the chores in the house.

Great learning success in a short time

I argued that the training would only take up three days a week and that both those taking part and the trainers were all female. My husband finally understood that I could use my dressmaker skills to support the family by working from home – we agreed that I could take part in the course.
 
I attended the sewing course for a whole five months, two hours at a time, three times a week. Our teacher was brilliant: she quickly taught us how to sew all sorts of material. The BMSO also made a sewing machine and other work material available, which we could take to our homes.

Now I mostly make children’s clothing from the comfort of my own home. This means I can take care of my children and the household at the same time. Parents drop by our house to bring me their preferred material and tell me what size they need. Sometimes I’m lucky and get to keep the remaining fabric. This I use to sew other children’s clothing and sell it.

 

The corona crisis also made things difficult for us. The number of my orders fell a lot, especially during the lockdown. I’m getting more orders again since the situation has improved a bit.

“Close to the people I can rely on”

Our life has taken a turn for the better. We didn’t feel at home in Pakistan, quite the opposite: we were often told it wasn’t our homeland. People used to ask us why we were even there. We faced a lot of problems and realised we had go back to Afghanistan. The thought of no longer being strangers made us feel better. Now we’re back among friends and relatives who rely on us and on whom we can rely. The BMSO and their training programme also helped me to achieve my career goal.

As of: 12/2020

 

Our life has taken a turn for the better.
Ughul