MICROFINANCING THE REFORMATION:

Afghan women start businesses, help reconstruct a torn nation: Some 10,000 women have been trained as entrepreneurs, some of whom are now economically self-sufficient (David Montero, 5/08/06, The Christian Science Monitor)

The ambitions of [Pashtun] Begum, once considered rare for women in Afghanistan, highlight a silent but powerful revolution here. A growing number of female entrepreneurs – some 10,000 have been trained – are emerging from the isolation of war and oppression of the Taliban to contribute toward a more prosperous nation and greater independence for women, observers say.

According to Microfinance Times, 75 percent of all active microcredit borrowers in Afghanistan are now women, many of whom use their loans to start businesses. Beauty parlors, tailoring shops, and bakeries are just some of the enterprises these women now own. Their efforts, observers say, are indispensable in the struggle to reverse decades of deprivation in Afghanistan.

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