The Maid Started her Own Shop

Every day was a struggle against hunger for the 50-year-old widow Majabin and her five children. With help from Mission East, she has now started her own small food business.

Around 0.70 Euro per day and a single meal is what Afghan Majabin was paid to work as a maid in the house next door. It was not enough to buy food for her five children, all of whom suffered from skin diseases, had protruding ribs and constant stomach-aches because of malnutrition.

War Widow

Majabin’s husband was killed in the war many years ago, and the family has since lived a life in poverty in a hut on a small piece of land in a village in northeastern Afghanistan. The children are still young, and Majabin is the sole provider. So when she heard about a new Mission East project, she asked if she could join.

Business Plan

The project was to teach groups of women to produce and sell food. During the first three months, the women were given training in hygiene and health, on how to process food, and on how they could sell it at the right price. Afterwards, Mission East helped Majabin and the other women to create a business plan for selling processed fruits and vegetables. They each received a meat grinder, a grater, and necessary ingredients for seasoning and preservation.

Growing Vegetables

Majabin was also trained in growing vegetables on her little piece of land. With the help of her children, she began to grow eggplants, tomatoes and peppers. Now she uses the vegetables from the kitchen garden to produce chutney, tomato sauce and pickles. And she buys fruits at the local market to make jam and apple jelly. She does all this to earn more money for the family.

Plans of Expansion

Majabin’s business has grown considerably since she began, and her products are popular. A local grocery store now buys her products, and she has a profit of around 12 euros per week. Other local buyers also purchase her products, and sell them at the market in the district's major city. She spends the money on providing proper food for her children, but she has also saved some money, and plans to expand the production.

She does not dwell in her impoverished past: "I do not want look back. I want to make sure my children are educated, so they can provide for me in the future," she says.

Progress that Lasts

  • Women from 350 families participated in the food groups.
  • Mission East also teaches disaster management and hygiene. They rebuild roads and irrigation canals, and strengthen local organizations in the impoverished provinces of Takhar, Baghlan and Badakhshan in northeastern Afghanistan.
  • The goal is to make the population resilient and independent from foreign aid.

Majabin has a profit of 30 Afghani per jar of apple jam or jelly. This is equivalent to approximately 0.50 Euro, and is enough to ensure that she and her children do not starve.

The women in the working groups learn to preserve their vegetables in a hygienic way.