“I am helping to change the lives of these artists. I’ve increased their profit margins from 25 percent to 200 percent. I want to make art a part of life in Afghanistan,” Javid says, pointing to paintings by a master artist from the western province of Herat.
In order to cover the cost of running The Galleria, Javid takes anywhere from 10 to 25 percent of the sale price of a piece of art and gives the rest to the artist.
“When we have a surplus, we either reinvest in more stock or a different variety of goods, or give advances to artists for their personal and professional needs,” Javid says.
Other Afghan Americans are also holding on to hope that the security situation in Afghanistan won’t force them out again.
Helena Malikyar, an Afghan-American from Arizona lives in Kabul with her husband and son. She says that despite the bleak forecast that many Afghan experts are predicting for Afghanistan after international forces completely withdraw in 2014, she still thinks young Afghans will rise to the occasion.
“I count on the young generation. I think they have developed a sense of awareness that gives them the potential to pull their act together to protect the gains of the recent years and work for progress and prosperity. I am aware that this may not be achieved during my lifetime, but I still hope that my son sees the Afghanistan that his parents dream of,” says Ms. Malikyar.
‘I felt like I was failing’
Other Afghan-Americans aren’t as hopeful as Moshref and Malikyar. Many have packed up and returned back to the US, leaving behind lucrative jobs, friends, and any hopes of seeing a responsible and capable government in Afghanistan.