Global Goods Partners is proud to announce our exciting new collaboration with the stellar Afghanistan-based organization, Aayenda Jewelry! Aayenda is an artisan jewelry line that was founded in 2013 as a way to create jobs for young Afghan men and women.
It is the latest initiative of the non-profit Future Brilliance Afghanistan, whose mission is to create economic development and stability in a largely impoverished and unstable Afghanistan, where, after a decade of war and subsequent economic downfall, the government is facing many tough years of rigorous reform. In addition to creating jobs, Aayenda has launched an education program for its artisans in which training in artisanal skills, ethnical business and management, teamwork, and creative thinking is administered, with the goal of giving the young Afghan workforce the tools necessary to establish long-term change in the job market.
The organization simultaneously tackles women’s rights issues in the Afghan workforce. Strictly imposed antiquated gender roles and threats of sexual assault in the workplace discourage women from seeking employment outside the home (and even women who do seek professional employment are often left with little control over their earnings, since conservative values dictate that men alone should preside over finances.)For these reasons, it is imperative that no woman is turned away from a legitimate professional opportunity. Aayenda welcomes all women who come to them into a secure work environment, and guarantees them fair wages over which they will have control. A visible and equal presence of women alongside men in the workplace will begin to progressively shift perceptions of gender, and future generations of Afghan women will be able to more easily gain financial independence.
Aayenda artisans train and create their products at stations in Kabul and in Jaipur, India. The beads used in most pieces are imported from an Afghan woman named Khala Zainab, who employs hundreds of artisans to handcraft turquoise and lapis lazuli beads. The goal is to continue increasing the number of female employees at all three locations over the next few years, with the eventual number being in the thousands.
Currently, GGP sells a handfull of stunning pieces that were made at the Jaipur workshop, including one of our personal favorites, the Gold Star Lapis Necklace. All of our Aayenda products are available for purchase on our website.
Aayenda Jewelry’s efforts to create longstanding change will not only reshape Afghanistan from within, but will also present to the world a new image of Afghanistan; a country that is marked not by war and instability, but by innovation, equality, and resilience.