ARZU STUDIO HOPE
ARZU STUDIO HOPE is an innovative model of social entrepreneurship that empowers Afghan women by providing fair-labor, artisan- based employment and access to education and healthcare.
ARZU, which means “hope” in Dari, is an example of a “for-benefit” corporation model, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that uses private sector practices to create jobs in rural villages in Afghanistan and produces export quality products. Net proceeds from the sales of ARZU’s flagship products, ARZU STUDIO HOPE rugs and Peace Cord® bracelets, directly benefit Afghans in the form of fair wages and social benefits, rather than accruing to investors or shareholders.
From a starting point of only 30 carpet weavers, ARZU has created over 700 private sector jobs and provided direct social benefits in Bamyan Province, Afghanistan. The ripple effect of ARZU’s work today impacts the lives of tens of thousands of Afghans. Central to ARZU’s approach is our Social Contract with weaver families. ARZU agrees to pay women the market rate for weaving plus up to a 50% quality incentive bonus. In exchange for the extra income, families must agree to send all children under the age of 15 to school full-time, to allow women in the household to attend ARZU literacy classes and to allow ARZU to assist pregnant women and newborns in obtaining pre- and post- natal care.