Since 9th grade, Mohammad ‘Bashir’ Rasikh has dreamed of becoming a woodcarver. After his first experience with woodworking, Bashir knew he wanted to pursue a career in the artisan sector. Now, as one of the founders of Bastani Wooden Products, he joins the ranks of skilled craftsmen and women producing quality handmade goods, despite setbacks.
Bashir exhibited talent early on in his woodcarving training. As a teenager in his first year of high school, he applied to Turquoise Mountain Institute, where woodcarving, jewelry, calligraphy, and ceramic classes are offered. At first, his application was denied, but this did not crush Bashir’s aspirations. After high school graduation, he was accepted and, through studies, met his current business partner, Ahmad ‘Masood’ Nayab. After completing three years at the institute, they launched Bastani Wooden Products together.
Initially, business was slow, and when Bashir periodically traveled, business operations halted. Once permanently situated in Afghanistan, Bashir became more motivated than ever to see his dreams succeed. The duo received a grant through a project funded by NCA/DIKU; a European economic growth organization focused on Afghan career development. They purchased equipment to scale the business to operate at commercial capacity with grant funds. Masood then took the lead in training select Afghan candidates in woodworking; after years of struggle and hard work, their business finally took off.
These days, obstacles only fuel the team’s craft. Bashir and Masood ensure each handmade piece is perfectly carved, motivated purely by a passion for their profession. Bastani Wooden Products produces various products such as intricate wood carvings in both Nuristani and classic styles, miniature artwork, and general carpentry. Additionally, the shop has some stonework, jewelry, and leather goods.
These materials complement the natural handmade aesthetic, but wood is always the center of each project. What makes Bashir and Masood’s company stand out is the unbeatable precision of their wooden products, including superior finishes, quality, and price. They aspire to one day expand the business to a larger facility and hire at least 100 talented employees who share their passion. By partnering with Aseel, Bashir and Masood hope to showcase their shop’s talents, increase revenue to fund the expansion, and enrich lives by sharing handmade Afghan products with the rest of the world.