Our partner organization is working with women living in remote, rural communities in the mountainous regions of northern Pakistan. Their Women’s Empowerment Project (WEP), is working to empower women through a skillset that will help raise their family earning potential, raise their social status and equip them with skills that will benefit themselves, their families and their communities.
Kunis is a small village located about a half hour drive from Skardu. Our partners have several programs in Skardu, including a women’s vocational training center that offers their one-year basic sewing training course. While Skardu faced minimal impacts from the floods in the summer of 2022, Kunis was devastated: buildings and lives were lost, and crop land was washed away. Because of our partner's connections in Skardu, their team was asked by the regional government to conduct community assessments and provide initial flood relief in Kunis. Their team traveled to Kunis regularly to provide food relief and winter housewarming kits, and to work with community leaders to find ways to help move from flood relief to development.
One woman in the village had completed the one-year, basic sewing training in Skardu through their Women's Empowerment Programme, and had since travelled to Gilgit to participate in their advanced sewing training – Train the Trainers. Arrangements were made for her to open a mobile women’s vocational training center in Kunis for up to 25 women. Because their relationships in the community were new and training specifically for women hadn’t been offered there before, the team was unsure how the response would be.
On registration day, over 80 women filled the small yard around the building where training would happen! They pressed forward with rupees and ID cards in hand, eager to reserve a spot in the course. All 25 spots were filled within a few minutes, and 60 women were added to the waitlist in hopes of another course in the future.
Even in the midst of devastation, there is hope!