Main

Bpeace Blog Briefs

Stories of bravery, transformation and impact.

Afghanistan

[caption id="attachment_377" align="alignnone" width="496" caption="Nargis (without scarf) training a client at Venus Fitness"]Nargis (without scarf) training a client at Venus Fitness[/caption]

This message of empowerment from two of Bpeace's members, fitness gurus Jeff and Julie Castaldo, has a whole different meaning here in Afghanistan.

Steve and Kate visited Venus Fitness Center today, the fitness center run by Nargis. Bpeace flash: Women’s fitness is news in Kabul. Soon after our arrival a camera crew arrived from Afghan National Television! They are doing a piece on women's fitness. Venus is the feature.

How did Venus happen? In March 2005, Nargis went to an educational program at Ohio University. She visited various gyms, worked out herself and was inspired to start a fitness center. Venus has now been open for a month. She is eager to learn how to improve her and the staff's knowledge of physical fitness.

Nargis jumped on Steve's suggestion that she and her mentors work by email once a week as she reads her way through a key fitness manual. She also needs to develop ways to produce more income from her center. Tube classes? Don’t know what they are? See below. And while the television program will help drive additional business, Venus already has 10 customers and another came in to check out the facilities as we were meeting. Kate was over the top with happiness to see that all of the customers were Afghan women, and not expats--which not only means good things for Afghanistan, but also makes for a more sustainable long-term business.

The tubes are long rubber ropes that can be used to provide muscle tension for all sorts of exercise (Kahlil, Steve's trainer will be happy to know that he demonstrated using the ball AND the tube -- very fancy). All of the women tried them out as well. Lots of laughter and definite interest in getting more of them for the center, particularly when Kate showed off her biceps, producing more laughter. Nargis sweetly ended our session by saying that she knew she would not fail with our help.

[caption id="attachment_378" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Marla and Laila"]Marla and Laila[/caption]

Bringing dreams into reality
Marla and Laila's day has been jam packed. It began with lamb and french fries at 9:30am while visiting Mahbooba and the Afghan International Chamber of Commerce. The meeting was focused on her guest house business plan and in particular the amazing financial model built by the Cornell School of Hotel Management. The most fun was looking at a map of Kabul and envisioning a future with Mahbooba’s guest house as home away from home for visiting women from the provinces. The challenge was realizing the cost of Kabul real estate. Mahbooba’s dream site of 18 rooms is on the market for $600,000! Mahbooba has major work ahead to complete the financial model, but the result will allow her to approach financial investors with a coherent and well-documented understanding of what is required to operate a successful guest house. Show us the money!

Then, unbelievably, Aziza and Hanifa told us that their daughters are members of the Afghanistan Karate team who just beat Pakistan and Kuwait in a September competition. They want to open a Karate Studio! Their mothers asked Bpeace to assist. Great new candidates for the spring team. Toni... we are finding them for your mission!

--Kate Buggeln for the Bpeace team, December 2005

Piqued your interest? The full blog from the December 2005 Afghan Mission is here.

[caption id="attachment_377" align="alignnone" width="496" caption="Nargis (without scarf) training a client at Venus Fitness"]Nargis (without scarf) training a client at Venus Fitness[/caption]

This message of empowerment from two of Bpeace's members, fitness gurus Jeff and Julie Castaldo, has a whole different meaning here in Afghanistan.

Steve and Kate visited Venus Fitness Center today, the fitness center run by Nargis. Bpeace flash: Women’s fitness is news in Kabul. Soon after our arrival a camera crew arrived from Afghan National Television! They are doing a piece on women's fitness. Venus is the feature.

How did Venus happen? In March 2005, Nargis went to an educational program at Ohio University. She visited various gyms, worked out herself and was inspired to start a fitness center. Venus has now been open for a month. She is eager to learn how to improve her and the staff's knowledge of physical fitness.

Nargis jumped on Steve's suggestion that she and her mentors work by email once a week as she reads her way through a key fitness manual. She also needs to develop ways to produce more income from her center. Tube classes? Don’t know what they are? See below. And while the television program will help drive additional business, Venus already has 10 customers and another came in to check out the facilities as we were meeting. Kate was over the top with happiness to see that all of the customers were Afghan women, and not expats--which not only means good things for Afghanistan, but also makes for a more sustainable long-term business.

The tubes are long rubber ropes that can be used to provide muscle tension for all sorts of exercise (Kahlil, Steve's trainer will be happy to know that he demonstrated using the ball AND the tube -- very fancy). All of the women tried them out as well. Lots of laughter and definite interest in getting more of them for the center, particularly when Kate showed off her biceps, producing more laughter. Nargis sweetly ended our session by saying that she knew she would not fail with our help.

[caption id="attachment_378" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="Marla and Laila"]Marla and Laila[/caption]

Bringing dreams into reality
Marla and Laila's day has been jam packed. It began with lamb and french fries at 9:30am while visiting Mahbooba and the Afghan International Chamber of Commerce. The meeting was focused on her guest house business plan and in particular the amazing financial model built by the Cornell School of Hotel Management. The most fun was looking at a map of Kabul and envisioning a future with Mahbooba’s guest house as home away from home for visiting women from the provinces. The challenge was realizing the cost of Kabul real estate. Mahbooba’s dream site of 18 rooms is on the market for $600,000! Mahbooba has major work ahead to complete the financial model, but the result will allow her to approach financial investors with a coherent and well-documented understanding of what is required to operate a successful guest house. Show us the money!

Then, unbelievably, Aziza and Hanifa told us that their daughters are members of the Afghanistan Karate team who just beat Pakistan and Kuwait in a September competition. They want to open a Karate Studio! Their mothers asked Bpeace to assist. Great new candidates for the spring team. Toni... we are finding them for your mission!

--Kate Buggeln for the Bpeace team, December 2005

Piqued your interest? The full blog from the December 2005 Afghan Mission is here.

Add comment

     


Security code
Refresh

Find us on Facebook

 

 

Find us on Twitter

Sitemap