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Ferishta: A Voice from Afghanistan
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Ferishta: A Voice from Afghanistan
Driven from her homeland by the Taliban and forced to flee to Pakistan when she was 17, Ferishta is one of a growing number of women taking part in rebuilding Afghanistan through small businesses that promote gender equality. Find out how she has overcome these odds to start a thriving sports ball company.
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Produced and directed by Heather Metcalfe.

Originally featured in the ViewChange Online Film Contest.

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Segment 1

TITLE
In Afghanistan, women are working to rise from poverty and gender discrimination. They do this even with daily reminders that the Taliban is still present. One such woman is Ferishta, who, in Mazar-e Sharif, is rebuilding not only her life but the lives of others.
TITLE
Mazar-e Sharif, Afghanistan
TITLE
Ferishta: A Voice From Afghanistan
FERISHTA
Like this is the ball she has printed. She does the printing on them. And also, we have the name of Balkh. Balkh is the province. One of the province in the north.
INTERVIEWER
They're nice. They're like really sturdy.
GIRL
They're nice.
INTERVIEWER
They're nice
GIRL
They're nice.
FERISHTA
These are all the printings that has been done by Asina.
INTERVIEWER
These?
FERISHTA
Yeah, all of these printings, they have been done by her. She's very good at printing and also preparing sample balls. Made by Afghan women.
INTERVIEWER
That's awesome.
FERISHTA
I know.
TITLE
Asina, one of Ferishta's employees.
FERISHTA
I run a small company producing soccer ball. I have twenty employees, men and women. You know that in Afghanistan sometimes people think that it's very difficult, especially for women, to do anything, and I also had the same idea, but after starting my own business I feel so much happier. I feel encouraged and I feel very powerful that, okay, as an Afghan woman I am also able to do something. And I'm sure that one day I can compete with other businesses. My daughter also likes playing with soccer ball.
INTERVIEWER
Yeah, you think she'll become a soccer player?
FERISHTA
Yeah. She can. It is difficult to manage business, work and also take care of the baby. Especially when she when she was very young, like two, three months…it was very difficult to leave her at home and go for work all the day, but I manage because it's not just the case with me, it's with everyone. Every working mother has the same problem.
INTERVIEWER
Do you think things are getting better for women in Afghanistan?
FERISHTA
I think so. Since the collapse of Taliban there have been quite significant changes and we are happy with that. It takes time because a country cannot be built in one or two day or one or two years. For building a country, it's not the responsibility of only men. It's the responsibility of every individual to just contribute to the economical growth of the country. When the Taliban came, I was 17. We went to Pakistan, Karachi city. We lived there for almost seven years. It was very difficult being a refugee and we had to live in poverty. When we came back we had to start our life from zero. It was very difficult, but still we are happy that we've gone back to our own country.
TITLE
Today Ferishta is one of a struggling but growing number or female entrepreneurs in Afghanistan. She employs men and women, who like herself, were refugees in Pakistan and have since returned home.