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FIROZKOH (Pajhwok): A young woman has opened a restaurant in western Ghor province and created jobs for another 10 women in Lal wa Sar Jangal district of the province challenging gender-based discrimination and outdated traditions.
For women engaging in an activity which is against the culture in Afghanistan is the hardest job. All people try for positive changes in their lives, but making them a reality require a strong will and fight.
Sharifa Moahidi, a 25-year-old woman, has abandoned negative traditions that could have prevented her and other women from working outside home and following their dream for success.
A resident of Lal wa Sar Jangal district of Ghor, Moahidi is graduated from Lal wa Sar Jangal High School and has received her bachelor’s in agriculture from Bamyan University. She is now manager of a restaurant in her district.
Moahidi, who looked simple and affable, in an interview with Pajhwok Afghan News said she crossed ‘red lines’ the society had set for women to realize her dream and for that she was thankful to her family, particularly father and brother.
She said she talked to many successful women for their advices that inspired her to make her success a reality.
“I was around 10 years old and studying in fourth grade when I started wearing boys’ clothes so no one should stop me from education, I would walk for two and a half hours every day to reach school,” she said.
She said despite negative traditions and difficulties she finished her high school and sat the entry test and received bachelor’s degree from the agriculture faculty.
She was director of the national vegetable program for two years in Lal wa Sarjangal district promoting the cultivation and use of vegetables to improve people’s livelihood. She has been living in a village and using a motorbike due to lack of road.
To fight against gender discrimination and negative cultural restrictions, she established a restaurant with little investment and ten women are working with her for the past four months.
Mohahidi said their restaurant might not look modern apparently but the food they served was testy and delicious and people showed interest in their food after a very short time and most of the customers were students of schools and families.
At the beginning of her business, she faced a number of difficulties such as lack of restaurant’s equipment but with the passage of time she saved money and recently bought some equipment like pots, tables, chairs and oven from Kabul.
According to her, her business has significantly impacted the attitude of people in her neighborhood towards working women and after her a number of other women decided to do something for their families.
She said: “Our restaurant was the first of its kind and our aim is to strength trust on women working outside homes.”
She said the patriarchal society considered it a shame that their women worked outside home and even educated people had a negative view of women's work outside home. She said their fight against these social inequalities was a satisfying one.
Sharifa Moahidi has also written articles advocating women's rights in various publications.
Jamila Karimi, head of Women’s Social and Empowerment Foundation in Ghor, said that insecurity, presence of illegal armed men, poverty and bad traditions were the factors that deprived women from their basic rights.
She said that only Lal wa Sarjangal district was the only place in Ghor where women could build their capacity as Sharifa Moahdi is an example that created work opportunities for women in the district.
If the peace process succeeded women would be able to work in safe environment because they have the ability to play an important role in improving their family’s economy, she concluded.

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