Over 90 percent of Kandari women are illiterate. With strict patriarchal, tribal and traditional customs in place, the majority of women in this region are confined to their compounds. Their inability to move freely in society contributes to their high illiteracy rates. Kandahar Treasure does not have the capacity or the resources to take literacy services to women in their homes. Kandahar Treasure has created a sponsorship program for female relatives of artisans to encourage and enable them to seek out education. The program links a school-aged girl to a sponsor who will provide her with $40 a month to attend school. To ensure that families do not take advantage of the funds, the girls attending school are required to share report cards with Kandahar Treasure staff and required to attend an annual conference organized in the summer for all the sponsored girls. The purpose of this sponsorship program is to enable girls to attend schools and bring them together annually to empower and train them as future leaders.


Shajana, AGE

Our group’s politician. A highly opinionated woman, Shajana is already a grandmother of three and has herself raised nine children! Years ago, Shajana lost a front tooth and would always cover her mouth with her scarf. When Kandahar Treasure staff asked her why she covered her mouth, she showed us her toothless smile. We thought she looked cool without the tooth, that its absence was part of her identity, and we told her so. Now she no longer wears the scarf and instead smiles with confidence. Shajana talks often about the constant fighting in Kandahar, and once suggested that women march against the violence in the region. Her workmates agreed with


Illiteracy is directly linked to medical problems that women and children face in Southern Afghanistan. They lack an understanding of basic personal hygiene, finding themselves and their children chronically ill. Kandahar Treasure is working to improve this situation. Our constant contact with the women allows us the opportunity to share with the women ways to avoid germs and bacteria. We also help women find proper medical care for health problems. Women, especially those coming from the districts of Kandahar province, are not aware of resources available to them in Kandahar city. Kandahar Treasure helps women get to specialists and care centers to obtain care.

Zia Jaan, AGE

A mother of three and is known in the Kandahar Treasure family as the “gold-teeth tailor.” She’s always smiling and has the ability to cheer the women around her even when they’re sad. She is a hard worker and regrets not being educated. She wishes she had daughters so that she could give them the opportunity to study. She says that she wants to work now so that her sons can be educated, and she wants to save enough money so that when she gets old she will not have to depend on them financially! Zia Jaan often jokes with the other women in the program at Kandahar Treasure that we should all save up and open a senior citizen home, so we’ll have somewhere to go when we’re too old to work.



A third of women working with Kandahar Treasure are widows – single handedly raising children and maintaining their families. Traditionally, women do not work and must be financially supported by a direct male relative. Without a husband or son who can work to sustain their families, many of these women fall into extreme poverty and despair.

Many of the women working with Kandahar Treasure are handling finances for the first time in their lives and cannot manage the money that they earn. Hence, Kandahar Treasure advises these artisans on how to plan, spend and manage their income to adequately support their families.


Maami, AGE

Happily married and has four children – one daughter and three sons. Maami’s family is extremely poor. Until recently, she has always worked as an aide to rich women in their homes. But a year ago, she realized that her services were not valued at the home where she worked and, during a salary dispute, she decided to quit her job and join Kandahar Treasure. Now she is very happy and often says, “I wish I could work here before – I am respected and well paid!”

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