Since we first brought you the story about Arghand last year, we've followed their their (page turning!) progress with great interest. In their last update, they told us how political and security shifts were threatening their Cooperative. Today, we're pleased to report that things are turning around.
For those who haven't followed the story from the beginning, let me catch you up: Arghand was founded in May of 2005 by Sarah Chayes, a former National Public Radio reporter assigned to Afghanistan who wanted to find a way to help rebuild the war-torn country. Arghand's mission is to contribute to the economic development of southern Afghanistan by producing high quality, all natural skin care products from the legendary fruits of the Kandahar region – thus competing with the opium industry by expanding the market for licit crops.
The Arghand Cooperative guarantees the livelihoods of all members who participate equally in all aspects of production and management regardless of gender, ethnicity or tribal affiliation. Given the explosion in international demand for fine natural skin-care products, and the abundance of raw materials in the orchards of southern Afghanistan – almonds, apricots, pomegranates, the precious blossoms of Rosa damascena – Arghand members decided to try to carve out a place for Afghanistan in this young market. Together, Sarah and the local Kandahari people have created a unique line of soaps and oils, whose aesthetic beauty and skin-nourishing virtues are truly unparalleled.
We were thrilled to hear that they are now in a position to expand their offering, with a new line of "essentials" which include face creams and lip balm. Growth, expansion, new opportunities: Arghand Cooperative is flourishing -- and we'll continue continue to share their progress with you in the spirit of Citizen Commerce ... providing you with the information you need to support those businesses that matter most to you. Be sure to check out today's Grommet video to learn more about these new products and the positive impact Arghand is having in Afghanistan.