Vocational traiing for war-affected women of Afghanistan in Gujarat

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Ahmedabad, May 28 : A group of 35 Afghan women in Ahmedabad are being imparted vocational training in an intiative to to rehabilitate war-affected women of Afghanistan. These women were shortlisted for training out of over 500 applicants after taking their written test and interview. They are being presently trained at the Self Employed Women's Association (SEWA) in garment making, food processing and environment regeneration sectors to enable them for employment opportunities.

SEWA, the non-governmental organisation in collaboration with the Governmet of India is working along with the Ministry of Women's Affairs in Kabul to empower war widows and jobless young women with skills to earn their livelihood.

There are thousands of widows in Afghanistan who seek economical security and self-sustainability. This project is like a beacon for them to move ahead in life.

"There are about 70, 000 widows in Afghanistan and SEWA has this massive challenge of doing economic rehabilitation of these women. I think we will be working for over three to five years time on setting up vocational training centres, on giving market access and market linkages andhen giving economic security and livelihood security to over 15,000 women and (solving) their houseless (problem) in the coming three years' time," said Reema Nanavaty, the Director of Economic And Rural Development with Self Employed Women's Association (SEWA).

The objective is to make the women self-sustainable, and in turn, start a process of inclusive growth and development in Afghanistan.

Many of these women have lost their family members during the war with Taliban and have been struggling to survive in poverty.

"We will learn this program for other people, especially those who want to survive in Afghanistan, but are poor women. They can't be on their own to survive and by themselves livelihood. They can't make arrangements for their members of their family, for their children and for their country for their people," said Mariam, one of the trainees. "We can do some service for the people of our country. We can see or consider this program as a good brotherly relationship between the both people of Afghanistan and India. It can bring more relationship between the two countries," she added The trainings are conducted in partnership with SEWA Trade Facilitation Centre for Garments, SGMH, Central Fashion Technology and Research Institute (CFTRI) and IIP for food processing and Agriculture University and Horticulture Association for forestry.

The feasibility study conducted by SEWA has brought out the selected sectors having potential to provide employment opportunities to women.

Thousands of people have died in violence in Afghanistan in recent years as the Taliban has stepped up attacks despite the presence of more than 55,000 foreign troops led by NATO and the U.S. military and nearly 150,000 Afghan security forces. By Uday Adhvaryu

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