Empowering Women in Pakistan Through Technical Skills

Empowering women has been an important pillar in the work of Thaakat Foundation since its inception. Every year, at the DREAMS site, we survey our villages and look at our demographics to see what more we can do in the area. Though our primary schools boast a 40% female enrollment rate and our college has an astonishing 80% female student body- there was one segment of women we had left out, Mothers.

Many mothers in Jam Chakro village, where our schools are based in Karachi Pakistan, work in landfills all day from morning to night. Not only are the working conditions dangerous, but the income from this work is sparse and unstable. Last year we took the initiative to survey women in the area about their needs, skills, and interest in other work. We were told they wanted to earn an income by sewing clothes, this motivated us to start our technical training pilot program.

We began in April 2019 with a group of 13 women and only a month later 30 women were enrolled. The pilot center not only provided a means of income for these women but the opportunity to socialize with one another in a safe environment. Laughter and chatter could be heard echoing in the center. In order to make the program more accessible and inclusive to all, we welcome children and have placed the center close to home for these women.

Now after the success of our pilot program, in 2020 we set out to construct an actual training facility! We are beyond excited to share the continued success of these women and to participate in their journey towards empowerment and sustainability.

Here are some testimonials from women participating in our training programs:

Student at Women’s technical training center
Enrolled in sewing and stitching course, 2019

“When I first joined the Technical center, I had very limited expertise in making clothes. I could only sew our traditional clothes called Brohi but had no clue of measurement, proper cutting, and drafting. After only 6 months I learned a lot from the teacher in the center. I have learned how to cut and stitch clothes and now I am able to sew other people’s clothes. Moreover, I now have the skills to stitch clothes for weddings and holidays through which I am able to earn extra income and provide for my family. However, I have requested my instructor to teach me to make men’s clothes as well so that I can make clothes for my sons as well. It will also give me the opportunity to sell them and earn funds to support my family because my husband does not have a fixed income and only brings money when he gets work.” 

Student at Women’s technical training center
Enrolled in sewing and stitching course, 2019

“In the beginning, I had no idea how to use a sewing machine or even a sewing pin but now I am skilled enough to be able to cut and sew clothes. Now, I am able to draft and sew clothes for my daughter. I am now learning to make other clothes like dresses, traditional Pakistani shalwar kameez etc. It’s a blessing to have this facility close to my house as it’s difficult for me to go outside the village for training or work. I hope to master this skill and would really appreciate if I could earn through this skill with the help of Idara Al-Khair.”

According to the United Nations, women do twice as much domestic and unpaid work than men. Allowing women to have decent work and pay accelerates development in multiple areas. Economic growth for women allows for sustainability not just for a woman but for families overall; in many rural areas women are the primary caretakers for families, economic growth allows for better household decisions revolving around health, nutrition, and avoiding harm to the environment.