Mina’s work has made an impact on improving the livelihoods of Afghan women and helping them build skills for a lifetime of sustained economic empowerment.

Mina’s work in fashion is a great illustration of the innovative ways in which she has fostered development. For Mina, quality fashion was never just something disposable the elite could access or a frivolous hobby for spending – it was an inspiration to combine traditional craft with modern function to create opportunity. Some of Mina’s most rewarding accomplishments has been working with female artisans to Central Asia for the world to admire.

Mina owned a boutique in Kabul. “When I returned from the United States after 23 years, post-Taliban, I searched for women artisans, but it was difficult to find them. That’s when I started WOMAN, a non-governmental organisation, for widows and victims of war to build their skills. Now, about 6,000 people benefit from tailoring, computers, and basic business skills,” recounts Sherzoy.

“Cultivating an identity, especially for the new generation, is important. Fashion could be a way to build that,” she says. Traditional Afghan embellishments like coins and buttons find an appearance in her clothes.

In 2006, at South Asian Association for Regional Countries (SAARC) fashion show, Mina show cased and introduced the Afghan embroidery and fashion for the first time after decades of war in Delhi, India.

Fashion as empowerment

Mina is the president of the Afghanistan World Wide Shopping Online Mall. She works with women artisans to stroke back to life the handicraft and textile wealth of this war-ravaged country. Sherzad is the founder of the non-governmental organisation, School of Hope, apart from being a qualified designer. Both women left the country during war and returned to Kabul after the turn of the millennium.