The Ahmadi family, who run Amadi Carpets, fled their home in Afghanistan during the Soviet War. In 2003, after founding a successful carpet business in Los Angeles, they returned to open their inaugural weaving workshop in Kabul, seeking to hire local women. Their newest line, Amadi Carpets Tuareg Collection, appeared at the WestEdge Design Fair in Los Angeles last week.
Starting the Kabul workshop wasn't simple. As the company explains, “The cultural hurdles to make this happen were monumental. The brothers behind Amadi Carpets went from family to family, attempting to persuade husbands, fathers and brothers to allow their wives, mothers and sisters the opportunity to work…and learn. The process was painfully slow over a three-year period, but has now become a reality for 120 women.” Their employees, who are ages 18 to 70, have received weaving training as well as educational classes, and are escorted from Kabul to the weaving center by bus to protect their safety. The women earn an income and an education, says the company, which in turn helps take the pressure of their children, who, though they ordinarily would have worked to provide for the family, can now attend school.
“You help empower one woman and you have empowered a whole family. You empower more than one woman and you have empowered a whole community,” explains Zubair Ahmadi, one of the company founders.