Leather craftsmanship has a long – and as so often male – tradition in Afghanistan. Including leather design in ALS’s training portfolio was viewed with similar skepticism as jewelry design. Nevertheless, since 2015, 25 female students have learned to make various leather utensils at NAZO’s Ahmad Shah Baba Mena training center. The training lasts 2 years.

Different Materials

The teaching offer is not limited to the material leather, but also includes canvas, (old) tarpaulins, imitation leather, etc.. In general, the women use all materials from which it is possible to make sturdy, portable containers. The result is products such as:

  • Bags
  • Belts
  • Backpacks
  • Wallets

On Their Way to Self-Employment

Former schoolgirls have joined forces and independently set up a leather studio in the center’s premises. The women can continue to leave their homes daily to work in the group – not having to retreat again to practice their craft in isolation in their family environment.
Over the years, the groups exchange knowledge, promote each other and work more effectively – in short, the workshop promotes the progress of the women among themselves, the “network”.

Many of the former students now teach their own apprentices in their studios.

Interesting facts

Location: NAZO center in Ahmad Shah Baba Mena, Kabul.

Time Period: 2011-2013

Trainees: 25

Studio: 11 former students + trainees


A few years ago, NAZO women could sell their products well at various sales fairs – at home and abroad. Unfortunately, this is no longer possible today. Firstly, because the security situation does not allow it and therefore much fewer sales fairs are offered, and secondly, the structures have solidified.

For example, until 2010/11, NAZO women sold very well at Kabul and Baghram airports (US military airport). Today, the latter may no longer be entered by locals at all.

Positive Side-effect:

Another positive effect of our vocational training: As multipliers, the women can pass on their knowledge, their profession, to other women and, in the long term, are no longer dependent on male teachers.

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