This scarf is made entirely in Afghanistan: the raw silk is grown and spun in Herat, and the cashmere comes from goats reared in the Hindu Kush mountains. While Afghanistan has a long tradition of silk artistry, dating back to the ancient silk road, cashmere production is relatively new. 90% of goats in Afghanistan produce cashmere, but the majority of goat herders are not aware of its luxury value. Azezena is training herders on sustainable farming and dehairing techniques, helping them to achieve higher quality cashmere and thereby higher prices for the natural fibre.
Sheela is a master weaver who joined AZEZANA in 2006. Sheela believes “everyone has a duty to make the most of their chances in life and not waste it. Whoever does so under harsh conditions, deserves respect and dignity,” she says.
AZEZANA is an Afghanistan-based social enterprise established in 2003 with the aim to provide vulnerable women with the skills they need to become financially independent. AZEZANA employs 11 women in Kabul who lead the production process from start to finish. On top of their salaries, each weaver is offered daily education and healthcare.