It is heartbreaking to see the faces of women when they first come to us. You see scars of great trauma and long-time abuse. Many have lost all hope.

But as they see that they can learn, that they have a chance for a better life, and that they can create objects of great beauty, they begin to smile and then to laugh.

Afghan Hands teaches skills to help Afghan widows gain independence, literacy, and a livable wages. At our centers in and around Kabul, women learn to create embroidered shawls and scarves, and the exquisite embroidery they make connects them to a wider world.

The centers are places to gather, study, and work. We pay the women to attend classes in the morning and embroider in the afternoon. Without this project, they could not educate themselves. Through Afghan Hands, they leave the walls of their compounds and attend seminars on basic human, legal, and religious rights. They prepare for work as free women do elsewhere in the world. This way, no one will ever imprison them in the name of law, honor, or religion.

We are a nonprofit organization. We are also linked to the Mirmon Orphanage. Our mutual efforts keep expenses as low as possible so that the funds we raise go to women and children.

In the future, we hope to establish small parks and playgrounds for children who now live in areas devastated by wars, drought, and environmental damage. We envision green havens where words of encouragement and hope are shared.

For now, Afghan women, by their own hands, are transforming their lives. This is our mission. Thank you for your interest in them and in their one-of-a-kind handmade pieces.