Sometimes scarves teach us how to be a little more fashionable. In this case, scarves are giving young students the opportunity for great teaching.
Jawan is part of the Afghan Scholars Initiative (ASI); all purchases help connect talented young Afghans with high school and college opportunities in the U.S. and India.
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Armed with a Square card reader and a passion for education, Qiam Amiry stationed himself on the Tufts University campus. He was selling scarves to test his idea: that people would pay for beautiful products, and in doing so fund the Afghan Scholars Initiative (ASI).
He first stumbled across the opportunity to work with scarves when he gave his Tufts graduate school professor one as a gift. She more than loved When he sold his first 400 scarves, he knew the test had succeeded – Qiam founded Jawan Fashion, which connects consumers with fabric that tells a story.
The story of Jawan begins with the story of ASI. Qiam founded ASI in 2007 to build a future for the country where he grew up. He left Afghanistan in 2003 because he earned a scholarship to the Li Po Chun United World College of Hong Kong. There he made friends from every continent and soaked in the mission of the college: that education brings people together for sustainable change. ASI was his own undertaking to prove that same irrefutable concept at home.
“Through ASI, I hope to give a group of daring young men and women an opportunity to learn and grow in an international environment in order to become the leaders that Afghanistan so desperately needs,” Qiam said.
Founded in 2007, ASI has sent 14 scholars to nine high schools and five colleges in the United States and India. Those five colleges are Williams College, Gettysburg College, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Colby College, and Smith College.
Jawan, then, is entirely part of ASI: 100% of the revenue from Jawan feeds into ASI.
Qiam also has a personal history with the scarves – they are not randomly chosen to support Afghan scholars, but rather part of local culture. Scarves in these patterns started flowing into Afghanistan in the 1980s and 90s. Qiam remembers walking around Kabul in 2000 and noticing an explosion of colors. The scarves have come a long way from their original black and white – and it is a long way that ASI has come through Qiam’s vision.