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The Vocational Training Centre (VTC) is operated by the Organisation for the Promotion of Afghan Women’s Capabilities (OPAWC) in one of the poorest areas of Kabul. It has been funded by SAWA-Australia (SA) Inc since its inception in 2008.

The VTC has continued to offer vocational and literacy classes to hundreds of Afghan women and girls who, for many reasons, had been denied access to formal education.
The overall investment in this project is based on the understanding that such classes empower women and girls to gain formal education and skills to earn an income.

Initially, the Centre offered mainly literacy classes, but with increased funding over the years, vocational training classes in tailoring and handicrafts have been added to meet the interests and requirements of the women and girls. Since 2020, with the help of generous donations from SAWA supporters, the VTC is now also offering English language and computing classes.

Ongoing political turmoil and continuous wars with the Taliban and ISIS have resulted in economic instability and increasing poverty in Afghanistan. The women at the VTC, many of whom are the breadwinners in their families, recognise the importance of vocational training to enable them to earn and income.

Vocational Training is provided in tailoring and embroidery.

The new plan has two parts:

Vocational Training

This is the beginning phase where women get training through two programs:


A master tailor and a professional designer are employed to teach sewing skills and production. Four training classes for approximately 160 students each year are divided into various categories, depending on skill levels.
The younger girls learn the basics of tailoring, while the more experienced women learn how to make traditional Afghan dresses, pant suits and coats.



Two embroidery workshops at VTC are equipped with embroidery machines, enabling women to learn how to make handicraft items.

Trainers understand the local market and have many years’ experience in this field.


Production Workshop

In the early years, after receiving training, the women were left to set up and manage their own business at home. Some were successful in setting up small tailoring shops, but they often had difficulty in finding customers and maintaining a business.

The VTC has now allocated a large room in the basement as a production workshop where skilled women are assisted in making garments and handicraft items, using machines and equipment owned by the Centre.
Up to 80 women can work simultaneously, with the designer and master tailor supervising their work.

Orders are received from vendors outside the centre and the products sold in shops and markets. The goal of the workshop is for the women to share in the sales profits.

Production Workshop

Impact for women involved with workshop

Name: Nasrin
Age: 48
Job: Working in OPAWC’s workshop
Year joined: 2019

Nasrin is a mother of 7 children and her husband can’t work because he broke his spine in an accident 6 years ago. She lives in a rented house in one of the poorest areas of Kabul and has a very difficult live.
Before coming to our centre, she was selling traditional Afghan food on the side of the road and had lots of problem. Now she works in our workshop, and is very happy, and she says that her life is improving every day.

Name: Frishta
Age: 27
Job: Working in OPAWC’s workshop
Year joined: 2019

Frishta is a mother of 3 children and lost her husband 8 years ago in a bomb blast in Kabul. She said that before coming to the centre her children were selling plastic in the streets, but now she has enrolled her children in school and works in our workshop earning money.

Name: Sabra
Age: 26
Job: Working in OPAWC’s workshop
Year joined: 2019

Sabra was born in Kuner province into a poor family. Her parents are very old and most of the time they are not able to pay their medical expenses. Previously, her young brother was responsible for all the family’s expenses, but now Sabra works in OPAWC’s workshop and earns money, and is able to help her family too. Sabra’s very happy to be working with OPAWC and she said that they now have a better life.

Literacy Program

Many Afghan women never have access to formal education and therefore cannot read or write. The VTC’s literacy classes provide basic literacy skills and assist students, especially young girls, to continue their education after graduating from the VTC.

Many former students have benefitted from this training and have become educated and independent.

English language and Computing classes

SAWA-Australia (SA) Inc sought advice from the Directors of the VTC regarding additional needs and interests of the women and girls at the Centre. For many, employment opportunities depend on some knowledge of the English language and/or skills in computing.

With the assistance of donors, SAWA provided additional funds for the purchase of computers and the employment of specialist teachers in these areas. The VTC is excited to provide these classes on an ongoing basis.

Impact for women involved with literacy program

Name: Samina
Age: 18
Job: Student
Year joined: 2019

I was born in Wardak province of Afghanistan. When I was very young, the Taliban closed down all girls schools in our village. The severity of insecurity forced us to leave our home and come to Kabul.
We lost our everything in Wardak and now living in Kabul is very difficult for us. We are six people in our family, and my father is the only one to run our family life. A few months ago, I started literacy class in OPAWC’s VTC and now I’m able to read and write and plan to start studying at school after graduating from OPAWC.
The biggest lesson I have learned from OPAWCs community centre is that women need to work alongside men in order to have a better life.

Name: Nazia
Age: 19
Job: Student
Year joined: 2019

I am Nazia from the Wardak Province of Afghanistan. We are 9 people in our family and all of us are illiterate. Six years ago, we lost everything in Wardak and we moved to Kabul. My father searched to find a job but unfortunately he couldn’t, so finally he decided to go to Iran and work there to feed his family.
This year we came to one of the poorer districts of Kabul due to insufficient money, and fortunately here we got to know about OPAWC which provided us with literacy and vocational skills.
Now myself and my younger sister are both learning how to read and write, and in a few months I will attend public school. Thanks to OPAWC and its generous donors for providing us with this great opportunity.

Name: Parwana
Age: 38
Job: Student
Year joined: 2019

I am from Paghman district of Kabul. I’m a mother of two girls and two boys. My husband is illiterate and has been unemployed since 2015.
Life was very difficult for me before I learned sewing skills, most of the time I did not have money to cover the medical expenses of my children, and it was difficult for me to find dry bread to fill my baby’s belly. I earned a little money by cleaning and washing clothes in people’s homes. Now I’m happy to learn sewing skills and I earn enough money through tailoring at home to help me make a better life for my family.

Humaira (32 years old) Sohaila (27 years old), along with Roma (21) and Rawzia (12), are four sisters from Wardak Province and they lost all their family members in one of the Taliban attacks in Wardak.
Now they live together in a rented house in Kabul. Sohaila and Humaira learned sewing and embroidering skills and now they make clothes to earn money. They can manage more easily now financially, and have decided to open a shop in one of the women’s bazars in Kabul.

Key Staff

Executive Director: Parwana is the Executive Director of OPAWC. She is responsible for providing leadership in developing programs, overseeing organisational and financial planning with the board of directors and staff, and carrying out plans and policies authorised by the board. She also works with the staff, finance, and the board in preparing the budget to ensure that the organisation operates within budget guidelines.

Program Manager: Sara is the Program Manager at OPAWC. Sara is responsible for all projects. She is also responsible for reporting to donors including financial reporting to donors.

Financial Officer: Ali is the Financial Officer at the Vocational Training Center. He prepares the financial report for the government, accounts for salaries, and is responsible for paying taxes etc.

Manager: Ms. Homa is the Manager at the Vocational Training Center. She has managed a public school for many years and we are grateful to have her intensive experience at the Center.

Literacy Teacher: Miss. Nilofer is our literacy teacher and trained at the Department of Literacy of Ministry of Education of Afghanistan. She is well experienced in her field.

Sewing Teacher: Ms. Shokofa is our sewing teacher. She has completed sewing training courses at several vocational training centers and is a skilled tailoring instructor.

English Teacher: Ms. Breshna is our English teacher. She has studied English at a centre called Star. Ms. Breshna has allowed the students to progress quickly and through her hard work has prepared them for the exams at the VTC.

Children Teachers: Miss Parwana and Robica are our children teachers.

Computer Teacher: Miss Sauida is the computer teacher and has completed extensive computer training courses.

Housekeeper: Miss Nafisa is the house keeper and is responsible for the day to day running of the Center and also makes tea for the staff.

Guard: Mr. Aziz is the guard of the center and is responsible for the safety of the Center.

Special Events

On the occasion of the Independence Day of Afghanistan, the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock organised a big exhibition in Kabul. We also attended this exhibition and rented one booth for three days to exhibit and sell our handicrafts which are made by OPAWCs students.


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