Bibi Khadija Awardees Biography
Afghania Sisters Business Center
Dr. Laila Afaq is the President of Afghania Sisters Business Center. She was born in 1993 in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Ms. Afaq pursued her higher education in Nursing, Midwifery and Medical Sciences. She is an activists and women’s rights advocate in Afghanistan. Since a very young age, she started to work and has worked in different sectors. She has tremendous achievements in medical, education, advocacy for women and business sectors. Her current business is Afghania Sisters Business Center in Kandahar Province of Afghanistan.
Ms. Afaq is very eager to volunteer and has done volunteer work for women such as training women about their rights and how to start their own business. Her message for other women is not to be afraid of anything and start their business in any field they are skilled in. Besides, she wants the government to support women in south zone of the country so that their activities in their province are acknowledged and encouraged.
Nasrin Keshawarz, President
Ms. Nasrin Keshavarz was born on 1995 in Herat province. She is President of Negin production. Negin Production supplies formal and casual clothes along with uniforms to the market. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Law and Islamic Science and Dental prosthesis. She has volunteer to lead the Bridge (Paul) team for five years, and has worked with various institutions such as UNHCR and NEL, and as representative of Kuwait People, provided different programs to develop agribusiness and food production for more than two hundred people. Based on her business experience, she opened, Negin production, which is located in the Jabril district of Herat province.
Her plan in the future is to introduce Negin as a reliable and quality brand in Afghanistan. Negin products, in addition to positioning among customers can meet all the needs of the community, especially the industrial city and all medical centers, schools, various institutions and organizations for the uniforms and dresses that they will need. Negin production has plan to increase employees from 20 to 200 persons in the near future.
Ms Keshavarz mentored other women and girls during the time she led the Bridge team and has been able to advise them on starting a successful business and they are currently involved in various business programs.
Her message to other women is that it takes courage and perseverance to start any business. Confidence is also important in the trade. Women should strive to increase their capacity and participate in training programs and seminars. She calls on the government and other organizations to support women in terms of capital and financial resources and provide grants to develop their medium and small businesses.
Family Health Hospital
Dr. Nasreen Khojandi is the Founder of Family Health Hospital. She was born in 1977 in Mazar-e-Sharif and she graduated from Balkh’s Medical University in 2003. She got her specialization in pediatric.
Ms. Khojandi had plan to launch a hospital where its staff, customers, and employees would be all women. Therefore, she established “Family Health Hospital” in 2015. This hospital is located in Mazar-e-Sharif and has more than 100 visitors per day. Since its establishment, Family Health Hospital employs more than 57 women and 25 men.
Ms. Khojandi says that offering the modern health services such as standard in-vitro fertilization and treatment of women’s breast cancer are the future plans for this hospital. The major challenges Ms. Khojand faces in business are the insecurity and unsustainable political situation. She wishes that women keep working constantly in community and discover their talent and every woman discovers their own abilities and tries hard for success.
Women Vocational training and Agriculture services institution
Nazifa Hofiani, President
Ms. Nazifa Hofiani is the President of Women Vocational Training and Agriculture Services Organization. This company is working in agriculture sector. Ms. Hofiani was born in 1969 in Parwan, Afghanistan. She completed her higher education in Law at Parwan University.
Ms. Hofiani established Women Vocational Training and Agriculture Services Organization in 2008 and started from very basic way of processing vegetable and fruits. Ten people are working in this organization where 7 of them are women. This organization produces honey, juice, pickles, jam and spices which are sold in Parwan and other provinces of Afghanistan. As Ms. Hofiani says, her motivation for starting her business was to meet the agricultural demands of market in Afghanistan and reduce the level of imports to the country.
Her message for other women is to try to be financially independent.
Noria Hamasa, President
Ms. Noria Hamasa is the President of Hamasa Radio. Ms. Hamasa’s business is in media sector. She was born in 1970 in Jawzjan, Afghanistan. She completed her elementary and secondary school in Jawzjan and after graduation, she taught at Khadija Jawzjani School for many years. Besides teaching, she worked as head of Meli Radio and Television for several years. She continued her higher education in Law and Diplomacy at Jawzjan University. Currently, 6 girls are working in Hamasa radio services.
Ms. Hamasa was also interested in women empowerment in media sector and therefore; she established “Hamasa Radio Station” in 2013. In 2017, she was recognized as the best Officer of Meli Radio and Television in 34 provinces of Afghanistan.
Ms. Hamasa message to other women is that the power women, have can bring peace and prosperity to society. Hence, they should use it for their family and country’s economy.
Women’s Social and Handicraft Association of Aibak – Samangan
Qamar Gul Sharifi, President
Ms. Qamar Gul Sharifi was born in Aibak city of Samangan province in 1974. Ms. Qamar Gul started her activities informally back to 10 years ago in handicraft sector and after participating in several exhibitions in Samangan and Kabul, she decided to work formally and generate income resources for more women. Therefore, she launched an association by the name of Women’s Handicraft Association of Aibak by registering her association with the Ministry of Justice in 2016. Ms. Qamar Gul officially started her association activities in handicrafts, clothing and embroidery, and confectionary production by purchasing raw materials worth 5000 AFS. The main goal for establishing this association was the presence of skilled women in handicrafts in this province and their demand for having job and income generation. Ms. Sharifi believes that women play vita role in the economic sustainability of their families and they raise independent and strong children like themselves.
Currently, the association has 60 female members from Samangan province who are active in the mentioned sectors. Our bakery is located in women’s market of Tahmina Bazar in Aibak City which employs 10 women. The association’s income is approximately 50,000 AFS per month. Ms. Sharifi plans to establish such associations in the districts of Samangan provinces in future where women have different activities. Her massage to other women is that if women besides in-home activities get involved with community, they will find that there is no difference between the ability of them and men.
Maseer e Elaf Trading Company
Rahela Sajadi, President
Ms. Rahela Sajadi is the President of Maseer-e-Elaf Trading Company. This company works in processing dry fruits. She was born in 1984 in Ghazni, Afghanistan. She completed her primary education in Kabul and subsequently she studied Political Science in a private university in Ghazni. Ms. Sajadi has 11 years of experience in business. This company was established in 2017 and after a short period, it had so many achievements such as exports to regional countries.
Maeer-e-Elaf processes dry fruit and after packaging and based on the demand of customers, they export their products to neighboring countries. Currently, 90 people are working with Maeer-e-Elaf where 80 of them are females. She expresses the reason behind her recognition through this award is because of her experience in business for more than 10 years and for her work for women empowerment. The biggest challenges that she had in her business journey were insecurity and moving the raw material from one place to another.
Ms. Sajadi’s message to other women is to work hard to reach their goals and not to give up.
Sediqa Shirzai, Predident
Roshani Television and Sada Radio
Ms. Sediqa Shirzai is the President of Roshani Television and Radio. She was born in 1978 in Kunduz, Afghanistan. She completed her higher education in Literature at Kunduz University but after graduation, based on her interest in Journalism, she started working in one of the local media as research reporter and she worked in this field from 2005 to 2008. After gaining enough experience in journalism, she started thinking about her own business in this field. Ms. Shirzai along with some of her colleagues established a radio for women with initial investment of USD 6000 in 2008. Besides, she, with the support of her husband, established another radio and television with the name of “Voice Radio” and “Roshani Television” in 2015. Currently, 9 women and 12 men are working with this radio.
Meanwhile, she has recently started working on two other businesses, which are in food and clothing. Ms. Shirzai has trained 50 women in media sector and cooperated with women to start their own businesses. Her message for other women is to use existing opportunities and know that it is never too late to follow their dreams.
Ms. Shahla Shaiq is the President of Nargis Radio. She was born on 1977 in Nangarhar Province. She has got her Bachelor’s degree in Law and Political Science from Rokhan Institute of Higher Education. Ms. Shaiq has been a board member for Shaiq News Network since 2000. Besides being a board member, she is the head of Nargis radio since 2007. Nargis is first ever radio dedicated to women and women empowerment programs in Nangarhar Province.
Ms. Shaiq was the first woman to start her own private business through the Radio that is still operating to this date under her leadership and by its own expenses. Nargis radio covered all women related issues and share them with people. The Radio staff has provided five hundred (500) women short-term educational programs in journalism. Through radio programs, Ms. Shaiq facilitated a running race for one hundred and twenty (120) women in Jalalabad, Afghanistan. In 2010, Ms. Shaiq became the head of Afghan Businesswomen in Eastern Afghanistan. Ms. Shaiq was awarded as “Brave women” award by the First Lady of Afghanistan. In June 2016 Shahla Shaiq established a business center for female refugees. It’s a carpet-weaving center that trains over 120 females and is continuing till now.
Yasamin Mohmand, President
BDOA (Basic Development Organization for Afghanistan)
Ms. Yasamin Mohmand is the President of BDOA (Basic Development Organization for Afghanistan). This organization works in training handicrafts and carpet waving. She was born in 1978 in Kabul and she has done her higher education in Political Science at Hanzala Badghisi University. She has worked with several organizations for 6 years and after gaining experience, she decided to work for herself.
Ms. Mohmand established BDOA in 2011 and this organization has graduated 100 women. Besides, currently 4 women are working in her organization in different positions. Ms. Mohmand’s biggest achievement is graduating 100 women so that they could become self-reliant.
Ms. Mohmand has been through challenges in her business such as limited access to internet and lack of market for services and products. Despite that, she could manage her business well and she has a successful business now. Her message for other women is that women should work not only for themselves but also for others to improve their economy.
Bamyan Boda Handicrafts
Zahra Nazari, President
Ms. Zahra Nazari is the President of Bamyan Boda Handicrafts. This company is working in Handicrafts sector. She was born in 1997 and she is currently studying Political science in Bamyan University. Ms. Nazari started working out since the age of nine, for she was the caretaker of her family. She worked with entities such as USAID, BBC, and UNICEF. She established her business in 2007 in Handicrafts sector, which produces Carpets, Jewelry, winter clothes, bags, decoration tools, namad and shoes.
The main goals of establishing this company is introducing Afghanistan’s culture to the world and Hazara culture to all other nationalities in Afghanistan. In the beginning, the challenges Ms. Nazari faced, were lack of capital, and not having market for products in 5 months of year and now she is managing to lead her business successfully all year.
Ms. Nazari was recognized as one of the best female entrepreneurs of Afghanistan by Ministry of Industry and Commerce in 2018, and in one of the international exhibitions in India her products got the first position.
Her message to all Afghan women is that they should strive for their independence.