#Featured on Khaleej Times: WKND Special – A tale of princesses from Afghanistan
As I open the Mira box, which has come wrapped in a piece of cloth dotted with abstract art in bright hues, something speaks to me. It’s just another box holding dried fruits and nuts, one may say. The raisins, almonds, walnuts, mulberries, and more, have no additives, preservatives, or added sugars, making it a healthy option to snack on. But it’s not the health benefits that stir something in me, it’s the little note that comes along with it, that piques my curiosity and urges me to dig deeper and know the story behind the natural handpicked dried fruit, nuts and saffron from Afghanistan.
Mira is a social enterprise by Fatima Bint Mohamed bin Zayed Initiative (FBMI) that aims to empower the world’s most underprivileged communities by creating a market to sell their produce globally, with all profits invested back into the initiative. Mira represents independent farmers from nearly every corner of Afghanistan, uniting them in the shared vision upon which Mira Farms (spread across the country from East to West, in various regions such as Kandahar, Helmand, Kabul, Herat, Uruzgan, Zabul, Samangan, Kapisa, Ghazni and Nimroz) was inspired. But where does the name Mira come from? “Mira is specifically an Emirati term used in the UAE. The word Mira is short version of Amira meaning princess in the Arabic language,” says Maywand Jabarkhyl, CEO, FBMI. “It is also related to the Latin word for wonderful and in Slavic languages it means peace! What a truly wonderful name for our mission and moreover, what a wonderful name for the women we support.”
Since 2008, Maywand has worked to help the most vulnerable Afghans in a meaningful way. In 2020, he expanded his vision to help build a more equal, safe and fair country for Afghan women by launching Mira Farms. Growing up in the UK as son of Afghan immigrants instilled in him the resilience and purpose to create a brighter future for Afghanistan. However, the story of empowering women goes back 11 years, as FBMI has been working in Afghanistan to empower women through the art of handmade carpet making. “Since the inception of FBMI, we have always been exploring ways to empower farmers as well,” shares Maywand. Today, the produce, which includes Afghanistan’s ‘red gold’ saffron, is sold globally and is also available for consumers to shop online.
Read the full story on Khaleej Times.