• During the crippling waves of COVID-19 and government-mandated lockdowns and restrictions, Ibu Foundation sent Kandahar Treasure $15,000 worth of emergency relief food packages to support the artisan women and their families.
Kandahar province remains an important political and economic hub within Afghanistan. However, this status has not enabled women in Kandahar to break from the cultural and social restrictions on their livelihood, development and progress. The history of Afghanistan has not been kind to its women, particularly in rural areas, and recent violence has further added fuel to the notion that it is unsafe for women to come out and participate in the public arena. Moreover, there is no infrastructure in place to address the needs of vulnerable women and their children. Kandahar Treasure was founded in January 2008 with the idea that Afghanistan needs to build its economy with its own production. A nation that has heavily depended on international aid since 2001 needs to build its own economy and sustain its people.

The centuries old khamak embroidery of Kandahar is slowly becoming an endangered tradition among women artisans in this region. Machine embroidery that looks similar but is made with a fraction of the cost has created strong competition. The goal of Kandahar Treasure is to give life and value to the art–carrying with it not only history but tradition and the voice of women in Kandahar, Afghanistan. In highly illiterate societies such as Afghanistan, this art form substitutes women’s expression that would otherwise be written in poems or stories. Kandahari Khamak is the story of the women of Kandahar creating beauty and peace in the midst of violence, instability and uncertainty.

The Kandahar community was hit particularly hard from the COVID-19 outbreaks, followed by a political transition that further deteriorated the already dire economic situation of the country, which resulted in several lockdowns and restrictions in which community members could not work and did not have access to essentials such as food to feed their families. In an effort to help the women of Kandahar Treasure in financial and physical distress, Ibu Foundation sent $15,000 worth of emergency relief food packages and supplies to the artisans and their families. 

Ibu also works with Kandahar Treasure to create hand embroidered products designed specifically for Ibu Movement retail. Through the sale of these beautifully hand embroidered pieces, KT supports a holistic approach to sustainable poverty alleviation through artisan-based employment that empowers Afghan women. Women, earning fair labor wages, create pieces of art that sustain traditional craft techniques and provide income and dignity for themselves and their families. KT also strives to drive transformational change by providing financial advice to help the women manage their household budgets for the first time. 

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