Young well off well trained and her own boss

Sultana learns to stitch clothes at the TVET center in Rehri, Sindh Province
Rehri: April, 2013: Sultana is 23, earns at least 25.000 rupees per month and is clearly happy with life. Few if any will be able to match her earning power in this impoverished neighbourhood of Karachi where fishing is the only livelihood, and that is seasonal.

Only a year ago Sultana earned next to nothing. Then she signed up for a 4-month vocational training course offered by the Indus Resource Centre (IRC) in Rehri, a poverty and crime ridden slum in Pakistan’s largest city.

Today, her designs can fetch up to 900 rupees for a dress. And thanks to the sewing machine the course equipped her with, she can make as many as 4-5 dresses a day, depending on the design.

Sultana was one of 486 people who received training as part of a one-year project called ‘Enhancing employability of women and youth in deprived coastal areas of Karachi’.

As part of this project six courses were designed for 17-30 year olds in stitching, basket weaving, AC repairs, mobile repairs and home appliance repairs. Sultana learned stitching techniques and hugely increased her productivity by learning how to use a modern sewing machine. She also learned about design and use of colours, how to purchase materials, to negotiate, to market her products and even how to cost her work. At the end of the course, like all other trainees she received a start up kit. For those who attended the stitching course, this included a sewing machine, scissors, threads etc.
An innovative feature of the project is that the gender atypical courses offered to girls in mobile phone and household appliance repairs.

The project, which was implemented by the IRC in an effort to give locals skills that would allow them to earn a livelihood, was funded through the Fund for Innovative Training (FIT). This is managed by GIZ and funded by the EU, Dutch and German governments as part of the TVET Report Support Programme.

FIT provides support to organisations in Pakistan that introduce initiatives to increase the employability of Pakistani youth and women by providing appropriate and relevant training in a flexible manner, and? generating models for developing skills. FIT supports the priorities of the government’s National Skills Strategy (NSS), which seeks to provide greater access to training in technical or vocational skills for which there is a demand.

At the time of writing, 90 percent of the attendees from the first round of courses are now self-employed. The second and final course was drawing to a close.

Fact Box

GIZ Project

TVET Reform Support Programme At Glance


“The start up kits are vital”, says IRC programme manager, Huma Khan, adding that “since they do not have any possibility to invest in these themselves they would otherwise not be able to use their skills to start up in business”.

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