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Women in Bamyan hit hard by COVID-19 economic crisis

AT News

KABUL: Zahra Kazemi, 42, started handicrafts business 17 years ago in Bamyan, a mountainous province in the heart of Afghanistan. Ms. Kazemi now runs a small factory of handicrafts in the province, where 20 women directly and 400 others indirectly work.

Ms. Kazemi says her business was very good before the virus outbreak and she exported her products to abroad. But the Corona virus-related lockdown affected her business and she suffered one million Afs loss.

“I was severely affected by the virus pandemic as our markets closed, ladies in rural areas who worked with us, stopped working. I suffered more than one million Afs loss,” she said.
Ms. Kazemi began making face masks during the pandemic and had to teach her six children during the quarantine when schools were closed.
Azra Laali, another businesswoman is active in hand bags, backpacks and shoes production and trade.

She said that 50 women worked in her factory before the quarantine, but it got closed in the lockdown days.

“I was hardly affected during the quarantine, not only me, but all businesswomen. We used to work in the winter and sell our products in spring because women work on the fields in the spring and summer. Everything was closed this year and foreign tourists didn’t come either. Our products remained stored unsold.”

Ms. Laali has lately resumed activities and is working hard to compensate the loss she suffered during pandemic lockdown. But this time, only 10 women help her in her production and trade.
Most of entrepreneur women are busy in making clothes and handicrafts in Bamyan.
The chamber of commerce and investment says the Covid lockdown affected business some two billion dollars.

“We found that most of suffering were women who ran small businesses,” Amin Babak, a spokesman for the chamber said.

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