I wanne share a moment here, which really touched me last week.
In the beginning of the year 2006 I was (boored by my studies) looking for a real challenge.
I found it in an internship in Kabul/Afghanistan, offered by AIESEC. My Task was to build up an IT-company (PAIWASTOON), which was until then just virtually present in Afghanistan, driven by a german entrepreneur. His idea is, to deliver cultural specific IT-solutions to this development country, to give afghans a change to participate in the global exchange of informations and in the end to build up an genuinely afghan company, run by afghans, serving afghan needs.
My job was, to establish an office select a team, and enable this team to work. All this in an enviroment which was embossed by war and situated between hope and desperateness. All this within just four month. Because of the short duration my maingoal was to create a strong vision within the team, that this job isn’t just for money (they get not half of the payment they could get at UNO or a NGO), but it is for personal learning and for the country.
Even if I did this job with all my passion, I was doubting that it would be very sustainebly.
It is difficult to describe: You are in this country, you just know from the news, where it is connected to crudeness and brutality. And suddenly you feel the warmth of the people which are thankfull you are there. Going there in the beginnig with the intension to help with the small resource you think you can contribute, suddenly you become aware of, that your presence really makes a difference.
After all I left Afghanistan with a lot of friends and the hope, that the projekt of PAIWASTOON will grow. Luckilly there was Mike, my sucsessor (also AIESEC Trainee) who took over from me to drive PAIWASTOON foreward.
Back in Germany suddenly everything was “normal” again. It took just some weeks to look back at this experince and feeling unsatisfied. It was that far away and the energy of change I felt there, was gone.
I continued my studies and forgot a lot the things I experienced.
After one year, where I still was was connected to the afghan team, my boss and the project, I decidet to committ myself again to more involvement. Not in Kabul (maybe in summer for some weeks), but as a kind of coach for structure and planning.
The first thing was to ask the team (some new members where employed in the meantime) to explain their motivation to work with PAIWASTOON.
Here we are at the point, that I was touched last week. It was because of the answers to this question. Representative for the others here is the answear of Waheedullah Farooqi Zargar:
“To be honest it is not just my motivation I mean it is the motivation of all our employees that Paiwastoon had really a good impact on the IT field of Afghanistan, because of that we followed to work with Paiwastoon. One other issue is that we are free to take the decision in lots of the cases and we like the management system of Paiwastoon, because it is friendly and when sometimes I explain our management system to lots of my friends they don’t accept, because they haven’t seen this like management any where else. One other issue is that we all are like members of a family and all of the employees have the same ideas about the development of Afghanistan, because it is not normal in Afghanistan to have this like team and it is because the team members have different points of views, but fortunately we have the same ideas for the development of Afghanistan.
When I see Khalid, Juma, Mike……others working for Paiwastoon during nights that time I think I should not leave Paiwastoon, because I won’t find these like team members anywhere else.
If I can’t proudly say I have that much salary, but I can proudly say that our Paiwastoon had done this and that and I can proud of being in Paiwastoon and being a member of this team. I can proudly say that Paiwastoon has a vision of helping Afghanistan. I can see lots of money in other places, but I become shock when I think of other working places. It was not all of my motivation, but I will stop here.”
Guess who grinded like a Cheshire cat? 🙂
For those of you, who belive like me, that entrepreneurship can be the key to make the world a better place, here is a book: The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid. Eradicating Poverty Through Profits von C. K. Prahalad
Some experiences I made in Afghanistan you will find in my blog (german!):