Arzu Studio Hope
ARZU, which means “hope” in Dari, is an innovative model of social entrepreneurship that helps Afghan women weavers and their families break the cycle of poverty by providing them steady income and access to education and healthcare. ARZU STUDIO HOPE believes in a holistic approach to sustainable poverty alleviation achieved through artisan-based employment that empowers women. Women, earning fair labor wages, weave exquisite hand-knotted rugs at home and craft Peace Cord Bracelets. Innovative social benefit practices drive transformational change by providing grassroots access to vital education, healthcare, clean water and sustainable community development programs. To be a registered ARZU weaver and receive fair labor wages and bonus payments, families must agree to send all of their children under age 15 to school full-time and to have women in the household attend literacy classes. While structured as a 501(c)(3) in the United States and .an international NGO in Afghanistan, ARZU operates as a “for-benefit” corporation, using private sector practices to create jobs in desperately poor rural villages where little opportunity exists.