This has been reposted from the Mercy Corps blog.
For many years under an oppressive regime, Afghan women were unable to leave their houses — they could only dream of starting businesses. Thousands of women had ideas, but no opportunity and certainly no assets to realize them.
But today, that's changed: women are now a vibrant and vital force in Afghanistan's economy. Mercy Corps pitched in to make that happen through Ariana Financial Services, a microfinance organization we founded in 2002. Ariana provides loans and other financial support to entrepreneurs. It currently has more than 7,500 clients, most of whom are women.
And those women are making a difference not only for themselves and their families, but their communities as well. They're filling markets with their products, creating jobs and training other women to succeed. These women are proof that, when given the chance, they can turn a little funding into a lot of good, as well as a lifetime career.
Freelance photographer Julie Denesha recently put together this video that includes her interview with Ariana's Executive Director, Storai Sadat, about how her organization has helped bring about this remarkable transformation.