Alternatives to War

Doing a lot with a little: Microfinance in Afghanistan

This is the first installment in our monthly series highlighting alternatives to war—effective programs that create stability and economic opportunity and improve lives. To receive our monthly newsletter, sign up for the Stand Up campaign here.

A small amount of money can be life changing for someone lacking economic opportunity in a country like Afghanistan. In this video from MercyCorps, Storai Sadat, Executive Director of Ariana Financial Services in Afghanistan, shares her pride at the dramatic change they have brought about through 54,000 small loans to entrepreneurs in Afghanistan.

Ariana Financial Services has 7,500 clients, and most of the staff and clients are women. Many of Ariana’s clients aren’t even allowed to leave the house, but through the program they learn how to calculate their income and expenses, and develop a plan to make a living from projects like weaving and sewing.

Programs like this empower women by giving them tools for life. It’s sustainable development like this that can bring about lasting stability and elevate women and girls by giving them more power to control their lives.