Afghan girls play chess at a coffee shop managed by Malalai Mobariz in Shiberghan, capital of Jawzjan province, Afghanistan, Feb. 20, 2021. In militancy-plagued Afghanistan, it is not easy for women to run their own businesses, but Malalai Mobariz is among a handful of women who confronted the challenges and opened a coffee shop in the country's northern Shiberghan city. (Photo by Mohammad Jan Aria/Xinhua)
SHIBERGHAN, Afghanistan, Feb. 26 (Xinhua) -- In militancy-plagued Afghanistan, it is not easy for women to run their own businesses, but Malalai Mobariz is among a handful of women who confronted the challenges and opened a coffee shop in the country's northern Shiberghan city.
"My prime objective of running the coffee shop is to display the ability of women from one hand, and from the other hand to provide job opportunities for women," Mobariz, 25, told Xinhua recently.
Living in Shiberghan city, capital of the relatively peaceful Jawzjan province, 390 km north of Kabul, the female entrepreneur hoped to build her career as businessperson from running the coffee shop.
Named as "Orange Cafe" and opened four months ago by Mobariz with a fund of 5,000 U.S. dollars, the coffee shop is gaining popularity.
Expressing satisfaction over the income of her coffee shop, Mobariz said up to 80 customers including boys and girls, men and women visit Orange Cafe every day.
Running a coffee shop in a conservative society is certainly risky, she said, adding that "overcoming challenges requires resilience, hard work and courage."
Orange Cafe is among a handful coffee shops established and run by women in Afghanistan. It is the first of its kind in Jawzjan and the neighboring Faryab, Balkh and Sari Pul provinces. Although established by a woman, the cafe employs both male and female staff.
What makes Orange Cafe special is that in addition to serving coffee, tea and a variety of dishes, it is also equipped with a library and chess-playing table so that the guests could read books or play chess in leisure time.
"Having a job is the right of both men and women. Launching small businesses such as coffee bar and restaurants can provide job opportunities for the people in the country," said Zainab Sharifi, a waitress of Orange Cafe.
Sharifi, 22, who is a college graduate and has been serving at Orange Cafe since its inauguration, said the number of customers is on the rise, and between 70 to 80 guests including boys and girls frequently come to the coffee shop to have tea, coffee and meetings.
Nevertheless, she said in Afghanistan, men often oppose women working outside because they worried that women could be harassed on the streets.
She said breaking the cultural barriers requires high spirit, hard work and time.
"Visiting coffee shops and restaurants in a war-torn country like Afghanistan is a good culture that promotes friendships among the war-weary people," a visitor of Orange Cafe, Nejla Mandegar, said. Enditem