Food for training: much more than meets the eye

Published on Thursday 3 April 2014

In the Kabul Informal Settlements (KIS), SOLIDARITÉS INTERNATIONAL’s vocational training programme benefits the trainees and their families in more ways than one. Here, Nadia, our training officer, presents the programme.

women_training_center_afgha_2014The primary purpose of the vocational training is to provide the girls and women with dressmaking skills. In exchange for their participation in the programme, the trainees receive a monthly food ration for their families. After a few months, most of them are able to sew clothes for a customer. At the end of the programme, the trainees leave with fabric, a sewing machine and tools, enabling them to take orders and earn money for the first time in their lives.

Alongside the sewing classes, the women also attend basic literacy and numeracy training. For the trainees, learning to read and write is just as important as learning a professional skill.

As the weeks go by, we notice that the women get more and more involved in the training, and make a real effort to make the most of the experience: they prepare lunch for their family the night before the classes and have a family member take care of their young children. Most of the women cannot leave their homes, much less the camp. The classes therefore offer a rare, if not unique, opportunity for them to get together and chat for a few hours. The course has come to play a social role and has become a forum where they can share their ideas and their concerns.

The training benefits the women on both material and human levels. Above all, it helps to boost their self-confidence. 


Women in their own words

parole_fammeI used to think that I was the only one who had problems. Now I know that everyone has their own worries. We should fight against obstacles and try to overcome them.
Nooria, trainee from Shadab Zafer camp

Every month, we receive a food ration for our families. This means that we do not have to worry about feeding our children and can focus on the training. When we received the registration card for the food distribution, my ten-year-old brother immediately understood what it meant for us. That night, he put the card under his pillow before he fell asleep. But suddenly he woke up with a start and said, ‘No, I shouldn’t put the card under my pillow: what if it suffocates? Then how will we manage to find food?’ He laid the card on top of his pillow and went back to sleep.”
Parina, Qala-e Wahed camp