“As an Afghan economist I have always wondered whether Afghanistan is a rich or poor country?” says Tania Aria, the founder of Afghan jewelry brand Veezha. Looking at the GDP rates obviously one would say it is a poor country, but considering the $1-3 trillion untapped natural resources and minerals, Tania does not think so. After all, Afghanistan treasures some of the world’s most wanted gemstones such as emerald, ruby, tourmaline, sapphire, spinel, lapis lazuli, and more.
An emerging entrepreneur, Tania dug deeper into and worked in the supply chain of the gemstone and jewelry industry of Afghanistan. She connected producers with international markets through international tradeshows. She knew the hidden potential of the sector– gemstones being one of the prominent export commodities of the Afghan economy – and its hindering gaps. She decided to establish her own venture to fulfill her dream of representing her country and culture in a more sophisticated and innovative way through business, while empowering her fellow Afghans by training and employing them.
To found Veezha – a Dari word meaning “distinguished” and “special” – she combined her passion for art, business acumen and tech-savviness to highlight the brilliance of Afghan gemstones and craftsmanship to the international markets. When asked about the unique features of her products, Tania says: “Veezha’s jewelry are authentic, handmade, and contemporary in design, presented with a story and message with origins from centuries-old rich Afghan culture. We distinguish our brand through artistic design details, the quality of gemstones and metal, and ultimately the way the pieces are cherished and worn with standard instructions on jewelry care.”
The care that goes into creating every necklace, bracelet, ring, and earring reflects her belief that the pieces are to be viewed as collectible, modern heirlooms that will stand the test of time and trends. Each collection is named with feminine Dari, Pashto and other language names describing her take in voicing Afghan women.
Now a promising emerging jewelry brand, Veezha has already resolved the major hurdles that many Afghan businesses have struggled with over the years. Tania has persistently focused on building a complete value chain from Afghanistan to the world. “On Veezha’s website, we offer secure online payment system, standard shipping in the U.S., Canada, and Afghanistan; and a wide product range, including one-of-a-kind pieces that are my personal favorites.” In the age of expanding global e-commerce, Afghanistan’s future economic growth highly depends on its ability to export and connect with international markets. Entrepreneurs like Tania are paving the way. Veezha’s primary markets are Kabul and the Unites States, and it plans to supply all over the world with branches in London, Germany, and Turkey in the near future. As a conscious buyer herself, Tania offers her customers not only elegant jewelry with the precious stones, but also the pride and satisfaction of contributing to a good cause and empowering Afghan artisans.
She also advocates for the private sector development and aware the public through her articles about standardizing the gemstone sector, such as “The Wonders of Little Gems”, “Gemstones: A Beautiful Way to Brand Afghanistan”, “Emerald: The Hidden Treasure of Afghanistan”, “The Role of Public Policy in Supporting Private Investment” and Impact of the International Programs in Promoting Women Entrepreneurship in Afghanistan.
Tania comes from an academic family and has always been passionate about education. After completing her bachelor’s degree in Economics from Kabul University, Tania started teaching at Oruj Institute of Leadership and Management and worked for a World Bank project at the Ministry of Finance to bring financial management reforms. She then went to Purdue University in Indiana, USA for a fellowship to advance her teaching and research skills. She attained UK’s Chevening Scholarship to pursue her master’s in Finance and Economic at the University of Southampton. Upon her return, she served in the Afghan government as advisor to the chief of staff at the Administrative Office of the President. As an advocate for women’s economic empowerment, Tania joined USAID’s Promote project where she supported women entrepreneurs to establish sustainable ventures and mentored tens of young women throughout their career path. Another opportunity came her way and she joined United States Agency for International Development’s Economic Growth Office where she not only directly worked in projects design, implementation and evaluation of economic growth projects for the country but also worked on trade and mining sectors in partnership with key government policy makers, private sector and other international allies.
Her passion for education and supporting her fellow Afghans has never stopped and now she uses Veezha as a better platform to support education of Afghan kids and women by partnering with two NGOs called “Farkhunda Trust” and “Sarak-e-Awal” and shares a percentage of Veezha’s profit as its social corporate responsibility. She has been volunteering with Farkhunda Trust since its establishment for the last 5 years that sponsors the higher education of women who are victims of violence and come from poor families across Afghanistan, and Sarak-e-Awal sponsors kids’ education to prevent child labor.
See original article at Wadsam
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