Red Gold of Afghanistan is a revenue driven social enterprise, working to empower women through the marketing, cultivating, and selling of Afghan saffron internationally. We reinvest our profits into our female suppliers, training them to produce higher quality saffron, renting equipment, and growing their business.
Our founder Nazaneen Qaumi was raised in Afghanistan. From a very young age she always wanted to help, teaching English to doctors, teachers, and other adults in Kabul since the age of 13. She planned to become a doctor, finishing four years of medical school before her family immigrated to Canada in 2014. She has never forgotten her homeland, and she founded Red Gold hoping to make Afghanistan a better place - especially for women.
Our mission is to empower Afghan women by selling the highest quality saffron in the entire world. We are empowering Afghan women, one saffron thread at a time.
Years of war and opium production have ravaged the lives of women in Afghanistan. They face struggles on two fronts. The first is that many have lost their husbands and male family members in the war, forcing them to become the sole breadwinners in supporting their families. Yet the economy offers few opportunities for women in a male-dominated society.
This male dominated society compounds another issue for women in Afghanistan - it is the most dangerous place to be a woman in the entire world.
- 90% of women have experienced domestic abuse
- 70-80% of women face forced marriages, many before the age of 16
- 87% are illiterate, preventing them from taking on work and communicating
- Two thirds of Afghan girls do not attend school, trapping them in a cycle of economic dependence
When women are reliant on others for income and survival, this status quo will never change. We believe that with saffron, we can give Afghan women something that many have never had - financial independence.
Saffron is the most expensive spice in the entire world. The best saffron in the world can be worth $11,000 / kg, significantly higher than the price of silver and close to the price of gold.
While many believe Iranian saffron to be the best in the world, our lab results and international panels show that Afghan saffron is truly the highest quality saffron in the world as its climate and soil combine to create perfect growing conditions for the spice.
Why is it so expensive?
Saffron is delicately picked from a flower called crocus sativus. These flowers only bloom during October and November of each year and must be harvested by hand.
Farmers then take these flowers to be processed, where workers must quickly pluck the delicate threads of saffron from each flower before it starts to lose its aroma and unique flavour.
Harvesting saffron takes time and requires a lot of labour. This is a good thing. It allows us to hire more women, giving them wages that can send their children to school and allow them to be independent of men.
To date, we have raised $14,000, and put those proceeds towards purchasing our first batch of Afghan saffron. We're excited to begin selling our product and telling the story of Afghan women to the world.