Roya*, a 22-year old girl from Ghor Province of Western Afghanistan is a graduate of a local teacher training center and language institute. She completed her studies with high hopes of finding a decent job that would enable her to help her parents financially as well as contribute towards her five young siblings’ education expenses.

Disappointment set in when nearly a year and a half later after graduation, Roya still had no prospects of employment.

“I felt I had no career direction or purpose. It hurt me as I realized my aging parents had worked so hard to provide me an education; it is my duty now to assist them, and I remained unable to,” she said. Roya did not give up hope. She sought out the Promote: Women in the Economy (WIE) representative within the local Department of Labor, Social Affairs, Martyrs, and Disabled (DoLSAMD) and upon learning of the WIE internship and apprenticeship program, Roya applied.  Within only two weeks, she received a phone call asking if she would be interested to interview for a position as a logistics intern with a locally-based NGO involved in humanitarian food distribution. Roya jumped at this opportunity, was successfully hired for the internship.

Her logistics internship has provided an opportunity to work in a new sector and learn timeline management, develop practical communication and IT skills, as well as innovative approaches to problem solving. Roya reports that her role is demanding and she works long hours. “My colleagues are open-minded and very talented, and I am encouraged to share my ideas,” she said. “I feel very comfortable, and I am eager to keep learning and working at new tasks. My family is proud, and they support my efforts.” Roya advises other prospective young women interns to do as she does. “Be open to listening and learning new skills,” she advised. “Engage with your supervisor and colleagues, and keep challenging yourself every day.” Roya says her internship allowed her to develop a new, clear career path.

She is confident her internship will convert into a permanent position, which will make her dream of assisting her family a long term reality. WIE offers services in 30 provinces across the country in partnership with MoLSAMD and has offices in five regional economic zones in Afghanistan including Mazar-i-Sharif, Jalalabad, Herat, Kandahar, and Kabul. WIE supports educated women between the ages of 18-30 in finding new or better jobs through career counseling, workplace skills development, and technical skills training based on market demand.D

*Name changed for security reasons