ARZU, which means “hope” in Dari, is an innovative model of social entrepreneurship that helps Afghan women weavers and their families break the cycle of poverty by providing them steady income and access to education and healthcare by sourcing and selling the rugs they weave.
While structured as a 501(c)(3) in the United States and .an international NGO in Afghanistan, ARZU operates as a “for-benefit” corporation, using private sector practices .to create jobs in desperately poor rural villages where little opportunity exists.
ARZU STUDIO HOPE believes in a holistic approach to sustainable poverty alleviation achieved through artisan-based employment that empowers women. Women, earning fair labor wages, weave exquisite hand-knotted rugs at home. Innovative social benefit practices drive transformational change by providing grassroots access to vital education, healthcare, clean water and sustainable community development programs.
HEALTHCARE & WELLNESS
ARZU believes that change begins with economic empowerment, and for this to be sustainable, an ecosystem of economic opportunity is needed for individuals, families, and ultimately communities to succeed. When people are chronically sick, they can not sustain an income; when people lack access to the basic necessities of life, including clean water, safe homes, and nutritious food, they can not create and participate in civil society. ARZU provides transportation to clinics for pre-natal and post-natal visits, as well as standard children’s immunizations. ARZU health monitors visit each weaver’s home on a weekly basis, and when problems are identified, ARZU staff facilitates the appropriate treatment, providing financial assistance when necessary. Health workshops are conducted annually to inform the community about sanitation, preventive care, and nutrition.
A woman weaver spins yarn in Bamyan Province, Afghanistan