From the ARZU website – learn more at arzustudiohope.org:
“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, healthcare and sustainable community development.
Our project creates a transformational equation to poverty alleviation. Real lives transformed by real wages, earned from real ethical employment + an eco-system with access to literacy, healthcare, preschools, clean water and housing = Real families lift themselves out of poverty.
ARZU weavers earn 68% more than the average Afghan. 55% own their own home. 70% own cellphones. 100% of ARZU weavers are literate when 90% of rural Afghan women are not. 20% of ARZU families have at least one child in University. To date, ARZU has not lost a single woman in childbirth, in a country with one of the highest maternal death rates.
We know through successful execution of a system of inter-locking protocols that sustainable change requires investing for the long-term, going deep, and going local. Addressing multiple basic needs simultaneously shifts cultural attitudes. ARZU has systematically shifted the paradigm of a patriarchial society to one where women are economically empowered, literate and have the resources to care for themselves, their families and their communities. Sustainable change starts with the dignity of paid employment. The rest flows from there.“