Programme Update: Empowering Afghanistan's Weavers

In late 2022, we started work on our newest carpet programme in Afghanistan funded by the Qatar Fund for Development. Now, at over halfway through the one-year pilot, we hear from our commercial director on progress so far and the impact this project is having in the community.

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Update from our Commercial Director, Toby Ash

“This project has been running for six months and it is really delivering the incomes that female weavers really need at this time of economic crisis. More than $400,000 worth of carpet orders are now in production, providing incomes for more than 1,500 weavers, and benefitting an additional 3,000 other family members.”

“This project has extraordinary momentum. Not only are weavers receiving incomes immediately, but we are sowing the seeds of future livelihoods for them. We are supporting them to make some of the most beautiful hand knotted carpets produced in the world today, which will be sold and reordered in prestigious showrooms across the world. This is a win-win situation for both weavers and retailers.”

About the project

At the heart of this programme is the goal that has been at our core since Turquoise Mountain was created in 2006 – not only to provide training and support to artisans, but also to facilitate commercial linkages with international customers so artisans are able earn sustainable incomes.

Through this project, we are connecting weavers to some of the most prestigious carpet retailers around the world. Our team is working with these commercial partners to develop carpet designs which are then put into production, giving hundreds of female weavers desperately needed incomes at this time of economic crisis in Afghanistan. These beautiful carpets will then be shipped across the globe to our partners’ showrooms from where they will be sold to the end consumer.

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The beauty of this project is that in addition to the short-term boost to incomes it gives to women weavers, it will also provide a source of ongoing jobs and incomes for them, as the revenues from the eventual sale of the carpets will be reinvested in the production of more stock to be carried by our extensive network of international retail partners, creating a constant cycle of sales and production. In addition to the technical and business support and training given by Turquoise Mountain, our fair-trade partner Label STEP is overseeing the production of the project’s carpets, giving weavers welfare and health support.

Thanks to our partnership with Qatar Fund for Development, these weavers are able to earn incomes at this time of economic crisis by making high quality carpets for Turquoise Mountain’s commercial partners around the world.