Thursday, October 23, 2008

Entrepreneurial Women in Afghanistan

This week, I attended a wonderful event at the Connecticut Women's Business Development Center. The WBDC hosted a woman from Afghanistan who was visiting the US to learn about the resources available for women entrepreneurs. She calmly told us how she fled Afghanistan in the early '90s and later returned to help empower women to start their own businesses. With quiet pride, she described some of the women in her group who had successfully started their own businesses - one opened a printing shop and another started a carpentry business, the only women running such businesses in the city.

Despite threats to her and her family, she is forging ahead to help women get the skills, resources and confidence they need to start businesses, help support their families and build a brighter, peaceful future.

I attended the event with other WBDC volunteers and clients, and we shared our own stories and the kind of support that we had received from the WBDC. She could not share her last name, for security reasons, but she assured us that she would take our ideas back home and share them with her group of women, who were eager to learn from their sisters in other parts of the world.

Her visit was sponsored by Business Council for Peace, which is a partner of UNIFEM, the United Nations Development Fund for Women.

What an inspiration she is - and a reminder of how difficult and dangerous life still is for so many women and men around the world....

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