Dell Jan came to HOPE International with a talent for weaving carpets, but because she lacked the capital to purchase her own carpet frame and materials, rental fees and interest owed to loan sharks consumed her profits. Even though she worked diligently, Dell Jan couldn’t produce enough carpets to provide for her family without keeping her seven children home from school to help.
Using HOPE loans, Dell Jan gradually built her own stock of supplies and materials. After receiving and repaying five loans, her children were in school, she could finance her husband’s new business endeavor, and she had built four additional rooms onto the family’s one-room home: two for rent and two to increase their own living space. “Through receiving this series of loans, the family can stand on their own feet,” her loan officer says. “They are no longer a needy family.”
For Dell Jan it wasn’t enough for her family alone to stand on their own feet. She began looking for ways to pull her neighbors out of poverty as well. She started by accepting six carpet-weaving apprentices. By teaching this valuable trade to others and connecting them with carpet vendors, Dell Jan enabled additional families to provide for themselves. As word spread of the service she was offering, family members, neighbors, and community residents began to flock to her for training. With growing demand, Dell Jan hired an instructor to assist her in teaching this coveted skill.
Among Dell Jan’s eager apprentices were several refugees from remote territories who had fled to Kabul for safety. Often impoverished and marginalized, these refugees had few opportunities for income-generation before receiving Dell Jan’s instruction in carpet-weaving. Now, as the country begins to stabilize and many of these refugees are returning to their homes, Dell Jan’s impact is spreading throughout Afghanistan. In smaller towns across the country, many of these apprentices are re-establishing themselves with new businesses and renewed prospects for success.
Though Dell Jan hopes to continue growing her business, hiring more employees, and training more potential weavers, one of her greatest goals looks toward her children and their impact on the next generation of Afghans. By using her business profits to fund her children’s university education, Dell Jan hopes her support will encourage them to serve others through their careers. As her children and others in her circle of influence begin to grab hold of Dell Jan’s contagious hope and optimism for the future of her country, they can join together to make just the kind of difference Afghanistan needs.