Carpet & Art Oasis 2015-i

Afghan carpet project shines with UAE support

By Jamil Khan @ The Gulf Today-Sharjah, Jan 12, 2015

DUBAI: The 20th edition of the Carpet & Art Oasis has many unique pieces of crafts around the world but visitors entering the hall may not miss noticing a woman weaver in traditional Afghan dress demonstrating her skills to complete a carpet under the banner of Fatema Bint Mohammed Bin Zayed Initiative (FBMI).
“She (the weaver) is part of our team consisting of over 4,000 weavers across Afghanistan highlighting the empowerment FBMI passes on to the women of poverty-stricken population in the country,” said Walied Jabarkhyl, executive director of the FBMI, while talking to The Gulf Today.
Sheikha Fatema Bint Mohammed Bin Zayed established the FBMI to alleviate poverty and provide long-term sustainability by partnering with Afghanistan-based Tanweer Investment and extended resources and opportunities for women to become part of the society again.
The FBMI was set up in 2010 and started by hiring around 340 workers to be part of carpet production process. Indirectly, over 20,000 people are benefitted from the project while earning livelihood for their families.
Currently, as part of the FBMI initiative, around 4,000 people are working in three facilities established in Kabul, Jalalabad and Mazar Sharif, in which over 70 per cent workers are women.
“Out of the huge proportion of women, around 40 per cent are widows which mean they have no other means of income to support their families. Being part of this initiative, our workers are bound to provide their children quality education as we have set a reasonable minimum wage of over $3 a day while outside the FBMI workers are being getting $1 for a day as labour charges,” he pointed out.
Jabarkhyl praised the UAE for establishing the initiative as a business project to help Afghan women as it is now self-sustainable and plans to expand in other provinces with more plants and more workforce.
The war-torn Afghanistan has witnessed exploitation of local carpets prices.
“To give customers a real value of the Afghan carpet while keeping the labour of our weaver, we have devised our own pricing system. The price range of an Afghan carpet starts Dhs500 per meter to Dhs5,000 for a meter depending on the number of knots, quality of material and the design,” Jabarkhyl added.
“We have been displaying a 120-years old Afghan carpet worth over $100,000 to show the customers about the durability of Afghan carpets. However, we are also displaying two carpets belonging to two kings from the period of 1932-1936 in mint condition,” he said.
The partnership between Tanweer Investment and FBMI has earned them a number of awards including the title of the largest designing of the carpet during the world’s biggest carpet exhibition held last year in Germany.

~ by jamilkhan on January 14, 2015.

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