HOW IT STARTED
Wendy Summer founded ZAANHA and ZAANHA Fund (ZF). She made her first trip to Afghanistan in April, 2006 to mentor women entrepreneurs and fell in love with the country and its people. After purchasing finely embroidered tribal coats at a local bazaar, she decided to start a business that showcased the exquisite embroidery produced by Afghan women. Since then, she’s ventured afield from Afghanistan to work with skilled artisans in neighboring countries who produce exquisite items of cashmere, silk and other fine materials. A portion of each ZAANHA sale is donated to the ZF.
ZAANHA means woman in Dari, one of the principal languages of Afghanistan. Our logo was inspired by an ancient Central Asian motif, a “hooked” sun. It symbolizes energy and rebirth. What better way to symbolize women?
WHY WE CARE
People are the heart of our business. Customers, volunteers, artisans, suppliers, the young people we send to school and a host of others are all part of ZAANHA’s community. Our mission is to make lives brighter and better whether through giving, enjoying, making or benefiting from our products and humanitarian work..
ZAANHA’s merchandise is meticulously hand made from fine natural materials including cashmere, silk, linen and cotton. Many of our artisans still practice age old techniques resulting in distinctive products of remarkable beauty and quality.
ZAANHA’s fashion and home décor accessories are meticulously handmade by skilled artisans in central Asian countries. We strive to find small workshops with accomplished people dedicated to creating items of superb workmanship. The making of our products provides an important source of income for many of these talented people.
WORKING STREET CHILDREN
Life is harsh for Afghan working street children. In the broiling summer to the frigid sub-zero winter, these children resort to sifting through piles of trash, shine shoes, sell chewing gum, tea and socks to eke out an income to support their families. With education a distant dream, and little if any hope for the future, it is virtually impossible for these children to break out of this cycle of poverty.
WHY EDUCATION IS ESSENTIAL
We believe education is the most important building block for a child’s future. Without it, the cycle of ignorance that has prevented Afghan youths from building productive lives for themselves, their communities and country will be perpetuated. Moreover, they will continue to be ripe targets for extremist groups. Your ZAANHA purchase and support helps puts an end to this unending cycle and contributes to a child’s prospects to become a participating member of a peaceful and prosperous world.
The ZF came into being after Wendy learned that thousands of indigent Afghan children were unable to go to school because they had to work on the streets to support their families. “These children are as smart as any others”, Summer recounts “and can go far if given the chance to have proper schooling”. A portion of all ZAANHA sales goes to the fund. The ZF also accepts direct donations which are tax deductible to the extent of the law. All fund expenses are borne by ZAANHA.