Afghan Biographies

Kitman, Samira Mrs.

Name Kitman, Samira Mrs.
Ethnic backgr. Pashtun
Date of birth 1990
Function/Grade Calligraphy and Illuminations Artist
History and Biodata

3. Biodata:
Mrs. Samira Kitman was born 1990 in Afghanistan. When she was eight years old she was living as a refugee in Pakistan. When the Taliban was overthrown, her family returned home along with tens of thousands of Afghans in 2002. To pursue her passion for art and design, Samira studied at the Turquoise Mountain Institute. After graduating in 2010, she started her own business, “Meftah-e-Hunar” (The Key of Art), producing illuminated calligraphic artworks and providing employment for young women. Her business so far has taught calligraphy and miniature painting to 90 young girls.

She is running one Afghanistan's most successful arts businesses. Having spent three years learning her craft at the Turquoise Mountain Institute, in 2012 Samira received support to set up her own business, Muftah-e Honar. The Afghan NGO Muftah-e-Hunar ('Key to Art'), registered with the Ministry of Information and Culture, was founded by Samira Kitman in order to teach young women skills in artwork and calligraphy. With financial support from the Embassy of Afghanistan in the United States of America, Meftah-e-Hunar currently teaches painting and calligraphy to 40 female students.In 2014, she secured a prestigious commission for the five-star Anjum Hotel in Mecca. From her workshop in the Old City, Samira employed 15 fellow female calligraphers full time to complete the order. Cementing her reputation for producing high-quality handmade artworks, Samira has since gone on to complete bespoke commissions for private clients, exhibitions, and public buildings around the world.

In 2014, Turquoise Mountain secured a $650,000 commission to provide the interior artwork for a five-star hotel in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. A portion of the commission was awarded to Samira’s business, which produced 600 original hand-painted calligraphy pieces as well as 8,000 prints for the 1,700 rooms of the Anjum Hotel, Mecca, earning her business over $65,000 in revenues and employing 30 women over six months. Samira owes a lot of her success to USAID, the largest long-term supporter of the Turquoise Mountain Institute, which gave Samira the opportunity not only to learn her craft, but also to take her first steps to becoming an independent businesswoman. USAID’s support to Turquoise Mountain’s business mentoring activities allowed Samira to receive intensive guidance and support over the last five years, taking her from new graduate to leading entrepreneur.

Samira Kitman won 2015 “Best Woman Entrepreneur” award during a celebration for International Women’s Day at the Women’s Center of the American University of Afghanistan. She was chosen out of 307 female competitors across Afghanistan for her unique artistic skills and for using international markets to grow her calligraphy business.

Kitmat speaks Pashtu, Urdu and English



Last Modified 2015-03-18
Established 2015-03-18