Azana is a charity and a company which seeks to empower women by teaching them how to weave silk and make scarves.
Combining centuries of artistic tradition with a social message, Azana has found its own niche in Afghanistan and in shops worldwide.
Their website – http://www.azana.net – explains the philosophy: “We strongly believe that education is pivotal for rebuilding Afghanistan and are providing daily education to all our employees. Furthermore, all Azana employees are offered healthcare and medical treatment.”
Arzoe Zane Afghan, the expanded version of the company name, means ‘Hope of Afghan Women’. They hope to teach “thousands of widows, female orphans and women in need” and give them the chance to “enter a world of economic independence and dignity.”
Beyond their ethical manufacturing, Azana also like to make sure that the production process reflects their commitment to the community and the environment.
These women create beautiful silk and mohair scarves, ties and earrings. All products are made by hand, using natural materials and produced using traditional methods.
“Azana is convinced that no machine can ever replace the sleight of hand and keenness of the human eye. We therefore weave each shawl by hand on wooden looms as we believe our product has to be as unique as the individual who wears it.”
These products can be found in the Asmani boutique in Washington DC, the Zardozi Market for Afghan Artists in Kabul and in arts shops across Germany. Azana hopes to be able to sell their beautiful pieces on their website soon.