Trade, Solidarity & Inclusion

I started this GoFundMe in 2019 in hopes of finding people who could help me restart my business in Afghanistan after a severe disability changed my life.

My story begins in July 2018 in Afghanistan, when I had health problems that led to my hospitalization, first at the hospital of the Italian NGO EMERGENCY in Kabul, and then, after a medical evacuation coordinated by the Italian Embassy in Afghanistan, to a hospital in northern Italy, where, minutes after landing at Milan airport, I underwent an emergency surgery and in the following days I was diagnosed with a "devastating" cancer which led to a second equally "devastating" surgery and chemoradiotherapy.

After cancer treatments and my first efforts to get used to living with a disability caused by the surgical removal of two important organs, the COVID pandemic and the Taliban takeover have once again postponed my return to Afghanistan.

Given the situation, I have carefully considered what to do in order to resume my activities in Afghanistan, and I have come to the decision to focus all my energies on launching my "Trade, Solidarity & Inclusion" project. This project is about promoting & selling Afghan products with the help of talented and honest people who encounter obstacles to get into work or have lost it due to disabilities caused by events or diseases. I will mainly work in collaboration with Afghan companies owned by women. The products will mainly be dried fruit & nuts, saffron, handicrafts, handmade rugs and Afghanistan traditional clothing. 

However, after my first contacts with potential buyers, it is clear that none of them will spend a cent until I show them that it is possible to safely reopen an office in Kabul that can be the bridge between them and the Afghan businesswomen. Above all, given the complications due to the collapse of the banking system of Afghanistan, buyers want to be sure that through my individual company registered with the Ministry of Industry and Commerce of Afghanistan, payments can be made smoothly and transparently. Furthermore, foreign buyers prefer to conduct their business in Afghanistan through verified and trusted people, and even better if these people (like me) are citizens of their countries and are physically located in Afghanistan.

In order to be able to cover the costs of my travel to Kabul, pay the first salary of at least two of my employees, reopen the office and equip it so that I can work and live there without the problems that may arise due to my disability, I need at least 8,000€, of which about 3,000 have already been donated to this GoFundMe.

If I did not have to spend all my savings on cancer treatments and if I did not become disabled, I could easily earn this amount of money without starting this fundraiser. But I am confident that as soon as my office in Kabul reopens, my life and the lives of several Afghan families will return to normal. Of course, I am also sure that other foreigners will follow my example and step by step, women-led companies will resume exports at the same level as in previous years.

I would like to thank all those who have given and who will give and who believe in me!

Ivo Toniut

Keep in mind:
The wisest help you can offer Afghan women-owned businesses, is to go to Afghanistan and partner with them to resume export of their products to your country!


Ivo Toniut

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