Vocational Training Centre (VTC)

Project Vocational Training Centre (VTC)

To empower impoverished Afghan women with vocational skills for economic independence and financial stability

Project Partners Ministry of Social Affairs and Women’s Affairs

• Four main skills are taught; embroidery, tailoring, carpet weaving and hand crafts • At the end of the training, participants receive certificates and tools related to their newly acquired skill to help them start their own business • The women are also thought basic business skills as well as basic English language and Mathematic

Locations Kandahar City, Afghanistan
Period April 2003 – March 2011 (the project is now closed)

In the first quarter of 2011, 93 widows and female heads of households completed their vocational training at the VTC


Afghanistan has a struggling economy overwhelmed by massive unemployment and poverty where women often cannot find work that provides sufficient pay. During the Mujahideen and Taliban rule, tight restrictions on the participation of women in public life and in economic activities caused women to have difficulty accessing education as well as earning an income for themselves. After 2001, an ease in restrictions has allowed more women to gain employment in various sectors and start homegrown businesses.


The VTC has given Afghan women the opportunity to upgrade their skills and work in the private sector. MERCY Malaysia encouraged women, who are widows or who head their households, to be trained at the VTC with the aim of equipping them to support themselves and their families. Our graduates have gone on to work with local NGOs and factories on fixed salaries, with a good number having started their own cottage industries. Over the years, this project has received many commendations from the Social Affairs, Women Affairs, and the Economy Department of Kandahar. On many occasions, MERCY Malaysia has been an example of successful capacity building for women in the community.