Microfinance faces hurdles in empowering Afghan women

Michelle Nichols – Reuters news – Friday, 31 December, 2010 (originally published 29 Dec)

KABUL, Dec 28 – In a dimly lit room at the back of an Afghan house, 21-year-old Zahara is crouched on a plank of wood weaving a large carpet on a loom that she was able to buy using a microfinance loan of $1,100.

Zahara started weaving carpets when she was 10 and did not go to school, but the loan from non-profit development group BRAC allowed her to start her own business about 18 months ago and she has since taken out two more loans of $330 each.

“When I first got the money, the carpets I was making were small and now I can make bigger carpets,” said Zahara, who heard about microfinance loans from her neighbour in Kabul. “Before I made carpets for other people and now I make them for myself.”. .

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