Exhibition for a cause brings forth talent ‘Women empowerment’

‘Women empowerment’ is a goal that shows up a lot in the world of development but is hard to trace or quantify and its results do not often become visible.

However, at a local on Monday, nearly 300 women from all over the country made their presence felt at an exhibition of Sabah Pakistan, and perhaps gave shape to what ‘women empowerment’ could perhaps look like.

This was the event of annual general meeting of Saarc Business Association for Home Based Women Workers (Sabah) – a mid-way organisation that acts as a trade facilitation centre based on a membership structure.

“As many as six of our board members are home based workers and they suggested that at the annual general meeting, our members should get the chance to display their own work,” explained Ms Anila Urooj, project manager at Sabah.

She said the women who had skills like embroidery, making handicraft goods, pottery and the like were noticed and trained by other NGOs like Sungi and once they reached a certain level of proficiency, both in terms of skill and being confident enough to learn how to be entrepreneurs on an individual level, Sabah took them on and trained them to help them become independent entrepreneurs.

“We are giving them exposure so that they learn how to be entrepreneurs in themselves,” said Ms Urooj, adding that, “we only work with skilled women – we train them to get them to a stage where they can be part of a mass production process.”

She added the aim was to have women get to a point where they could take placement orders from suppliers and fulfill them as per demand and could also be able to negotiate prices, wages etc.

At the venue of the exhibition, local embroidery patterns and bright colors from areas as far-ranging as Haripur, Dera Ismail Khan and Sindh, in addition to the hustle and bustle of all kinds of women haggling over prices made the hall wear a festive
look.

These were the women who couldn’t do anything without seeking permission from their men until recently. “But now they are taking orders, working on fair wages, their standards of living are improving and whole villages have come together in an
effort to become members of Sabah,” informed Ms Urooj when asked about the impact of this project.

(Dawn)

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