Eight years ago, Thunderbird welcomed the first group of Project Artemis “Fellows” to our campus in Glendale, AZ. This group of Afghan women made such an impact on the students, faculty, and administrators who were involved, that the school started the Office of Thunderbird for Good to continue this and other measures designed to bring a world class business education to students from disadvantaged backgrounds all over the world who would not otherwise be able to access a Thunderbird education. Since our inception, Thunderbird for Good has trained over 70,000 entrepreneurs and business professionals from 26 countries all over the world.
Please join us next Tuesday, January 29th, to welcome our fifth class of Afghan women entrepreneurs to campus for Project Artemis. Project Artemis is a two-week business education program that aims to build the entrepreneurial skills of promising Afghan businesswomen. Mentors assigned to each participant provide additional support for at least two years as the women return home to establish or expand their companies. The 63 women who have graduated from the program since 2005 have gone home to create more than 2,000 jobs in Afghanistan through their businesses, and have trained and mentored well over 15,000 Afghans in business and management skills that they learned during the program.
This year’s fellows come from five provinces in Afghanistan, and own businesses ranging from IT services to jewelry fabrication to the cultivation of Saffron. These women already own businesses in what is without question one of the most difficult business environments in the world… especially for women. We look forward to sharing this inspiring program with the Thunderbird community.
Read on for a short synopsis of each of this year’s fellows and their businesses.
22 years old, from Balkh
Owns a jewelry production company which employs 11 people in the production of jewelry which is sold in her store in the market in Balkh as well as selling pieces wholesale to local jewelry shops.
39 years old, from Kabul
Owns a chicken farm with 20 employees in the production of honey, eggs and chicken meat for the local market. She has studied veterinary medicine and distinguishes her product by following strict health and sanitation standards to bring the safest, highest quality products to the market.
35 years old, from Kabul
Owns an IT services business called “Momtaz Host Company” which provides website design and construction, digital photography and videos, and business IT solutions such as data sharing. She is working to establish an online shopping site for Afghan art, weaving, and other crafts.
29 years old, from Herat
Owns a jewelry business called “Banwani Herey” which employs 15 people in the production and sale of high quality jewelry using stones native to Afghanistan. She is exploring the possibility of having shops in Dubai and California carry her products, and would like to expand her product lines to include rings and other items for men in order to expand her market.
28 years old, from Herat
Owns a food processing and retail sales business which has been in operation for 9 years called “Bano Food.” Her business has 26 employees which produces jams, pickles, canned veggies, sauces, spices, and dried fruits and veggies from freshly grown Afghan produce.
39 years old, from Balkh
Owns a silk production and retail sales business which has been in operation for 15 years with 40 part time employees. She would like to expand her business to include a production center that would include a daycare and gym for her employees so that they can have a safe environment for their children and the ability to exercise to alleviate pain and weariness during the work day.
28 years old, from Herat
Owns a business which employs 6 full time employees and 60 seasonal employees in the cultivation and supply of saffron called “Tayeebnenab.” Saffron is a highly valuable spice crop which has the potential to create significant income gains in her largely agricultural province.
31 years old, from Herat
Owns a home and office décor and retail business called “Tahminah Company” which employs 7 full time and 300 part time employees, which work out of their homes to produce the decorations that she sells. Her dream is to have a branch of her business in all major cities of Afghanistan.
22 years old, from Kabul
Owns a clothing design, production, and retail sales business named “Wonderland Women” which employs 7 people. She designs, produces, and sells high quality, stylish business and party clothing through her store in Kabul.
23 years old, from Zabul
Owns a dairy production business in the rural border province of Zabul, with 120 contracted employees who keep milk cows and chickens at their homes for her to collect eggs, meat, and milk from to process and sell in the local market.
31 years old, from Herat
Owns a jewelry production business called “Hope Creation,” which employs 12 people in the production of high quality custom handcrafted jewelry for the local market. Malika provides literacy training to her employees and the community with some of the profits of her business.