Rajanpur: September, 2013: Afshan is delighted at the fact that her relationship with her husband and her status in the house has improved.
Already during the fourth month of her six-month course on beautician skills, Afshan Bibi (26) set up a parlor in her house in village Dora Hajana, Union Council Kotla Mughlan in District RajanPur., A mother of four and wife to a daily wage earner Afshan used to make ends meet from her husband’s seasonal agriculture-work earnings. The decision to turn her interest into a source of income came when a local organization, AWAZ, announced a six-month course on beautician skills as part of a European Union funded project on enhancing women’s vocational skills and employability.
Afshan, who has completed Grade 8th instantly registered for the course. Three months down the line, knowing that there is no beauty parlor in the close by vicinity; Afshan started to explore avenues to set up a home-based business. She obtained an initial loan of Rupees 5,000 (USD 50) from the local Village Development Committee that already runs a savings and loaning system, with return on installments. This money, in addition to her savings, was sufficient to set up a basic parlor in the house, named Zara Beauty Parlor.
Zara beauty parlor runs from 3.00 -8.00 pm and pays Afshan in more ways than one.
Afshan earns approximately Rs. 7,000 a month from her beauty parlor work which she uses for her children’s education and the immediate needs of the house. Interestingly, more than being happy about the money Afshan is delighted at the fact that her relationship with her husband and her status in the house has improved. She confided that both of them now sit together to make decisions for the house; and her husband babysits the little ones while she is busy in the parlor. This has also strengthened the bond between the children and their father.
Afshan’s husband in turn said that adjusting to the new routine was difficult in the beginning. Also, other men in the community would often tell him that looking after children is a woman’s responsibility. However his experience in the past four months has been enough for him to realize that parenting is very much a shared responsibility.
Afshan feels blessed to have this support and plans to do an internship in a renowned parlor in the city, 12 kilometer away from her house in order to refine her skills and expand her set up.
Care International Project
Enhancing development by investing in Human Capital in Punjab and Sindh
Care International and local partner AWAZ foundation are implementing a EUR 2.7 million project in 4 districts of Punjab province and 3 districts of Sindh, Pakistan. (90% funded by EU)
The aim of the project is to increase access of rural women and youth to job opportunities through innovative TVET approaches. They worked with 15 local institutions to identify skills for which there is a demand and then to develop certified courses, including relevant entrepreneurial and soft skills. In total 4600 students will be trained in a total of 8 trades. At least 1,400 will be helped into self-employment opportunities.
The project will also establish 15 career guidance centers in the TVET institutes; train 400 home-based workers in business development through community-based trainings and establish their linkages with opportunities in the market.
Additionally, for women of the rural communities, the project aims to effectively address issues of accessing urban skill developments center and the market through consistent community mobilization activities.