On a sunny weekend in Kabul, 30-year-old Maryam Mohammdi drives a solar-powered rickshaw around a city suburb, selling burgers to hungry customers as part of a business that is employing dozens of women in a traditionally male-dominated profession.
Mohammdi said that she initially drew pointed remarks when she started her job.
“People were making fun of me and laughing, saying: ‘look at her, she is working on the street’, but now the situation is getting better and people are encouraging me on a lot,” she said.
“Even men now cheer me on and say our food is delicious and healthy.”
The business was started in 2018 by 27-year old Farhad Wajdi, who was born in a refugee camp in Pakistan, and now employs 50 women running 25 food carts in Kabul. He hopes to expand to 100 carts this year.
“When I returned to Afghanistan...I saw women were treated really badly, they were not allowed to do businesses, they were not allowed to take financial independence, they were socially excluded from socioeconomic opportunities,” he said.
“For me it was a triggering point that I started working for Afghan women, because I see Afghan women as a big human resource that should be... equipped with skills and knowledge so they can make an equal contribution in the economic development of Afghanistan.”
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