ARZU, Inc. is a social business enterprise (“SBE”) — a true public/private sector partnership sustained by revenues from the sales of high-end rugs and supplemented by generous donor support. Surplus “profits” accrue for the benefit of project participants, instead of shareholders. ARZU’s focus is on the triple bottom line — people, planet and profit for good. While structured as a 501(c)(3) in the United States and an international NGO in Afghanistan, ARZU Inc. operates as a “for-benefit” corporation, using private sector practices to create jobs in desperately poor rural villages where little opportunity exists.
Arzu, which means “hope” in Dari, began as an innovative model of social entrepreneurship to help Afghan women weavers and their families break the cycle of poverty by providing them steady income and access to education and healthcare by sourcing and selling the rugs they weave.
Following its fifth anniversary in June 2009, ARZU evolved to grow as a more global brand called, ARZU STUDIO HOPE.
ARZU STUDIO HOPE continues to support a holistic approach to sustainable poverty alleviation achieved through artisan-based employment that empowers women. Women, earning fair labor wages, weave exquisite hand-knotted rugs at home. Innovative social benefit practices drive transformational change by providing grassroots access to vital education, healthcare, clean water and sustainable community development programs.