WE ARE IBU IN ACTION:
During the recent new waves of COVID and government-mandated lockdowns and restrictions, Ibu Foundation sent the women artisans of Kandahar Treasures over $10,000 worth of emergency relief food packages to support the women and their families.
Kandahar province remains an important political and economic hub within Afghanistan. However, this status has not enabled women in Kandahar to break from the cultural and social restrictions on their livelihood, development and progress. The history of Afghanistan has not been kind to its women, particularly in rural areas, and recent violence has further added fuel to the notion that it is unsafe for women to come out and participate in the public arena. An important fact that many leaders in Afghanistan have consistently neglected is that, in a traditional society like Afghanistan, plagued by poverty and war for more than three decades, the number of widows has been on an exponential rise. Moreover, with constant violence, there is no infrastructure in place to address the needs of these vulnerable women and their children. Kandahar Treasure was founded in January 2008 with the idea that Afghanistan needs to build its economy with its own production. A nation that has heavily depended on international aid since 2001 needs to build its own economy and sustain its people.
The centuries old Khamak of Kandahar is slowly becoming an endangered tradition among women artisans in this region. Machine embroidery that looks similar but made with a fraction of the cost has created strong competition. The goal of Kandahar Treasure is to give life and value to the art – carrying with it not only history but tradition and the voice of women in Kandahar, Afghanistan. In highly illiterate societies such as Kandahar, Afghanistan, this art form substitutes women’s expression that would otherwise be written in poems or stories. Kandahari Khamak is the story of the women of Kandahar – creating beauty and peace in the midst of a very violent and unstable society.
While the world is slowing entering its “new normal,” COVID outbreaks are still rampant across the globe. The Kandahar community was hit particularly hard from 2021, which resulted in several lockdowns and restrictions in which the community could not work and did not have access to essentials such as food to feed their families. In an effort to help the women of Kandahar Treasures in financial and physical distress, Ibu Foundation sent over $10,000 worth of emergency relief food packages to the artisans and their families.
Through the sale of beautifully hand embroidered pieces, KT supports a holistic approach to sustainable poverty alleviation through artisan-based employment that empowers Afghan women. Women, earning fair labor wages, embroider weave pieces of art. KT strives to also drive transformational change by providing financial advising to help the women manage their household budgets for the first time.