Indus Earth Trust

Indus Earth works to facilitate a movement to raise living standards by enhancing socio-economic conditions through an integrated development approach which incorporates reduced use of fossil fuels and encourages the exploration of renewable energy, while ensuring the protection of flora, fauna, and marine life.
May 19, 2015

True Empowerment-carrying the good work forward

Kursheeda Iqbal in the office - LSO Sohni Dharti.
Kursheeda Iqbal in the office - LSO Sohni Dharti.

A key highlight of Indus Earth Trust’s (IET) programs is the stress on the concept of integrated development, an approach that ensures sustainability and internalization of the goals of self-help, empowerment and ownership. The integration of Institutional Development-ID as part of IET’s endeavors has led to the growing self-confidence and empowerment of the beneficiaries. IET has facilitated the development and registration of the Local Support Organizations - LSOs, Community Based Organizations - CBOs and Village organizations- VOs to allow organisation and ensure representation of local voices in all development endeavours.

Khursheeda Iqbal a beneficiary of IET’s program,was inspired through social mobilization to participate and become an elected member of the LSO ‘Sohni Dharti’ in early 2013. After being elected Khursheeda began a small tailoring centre for providing local women with a means of livelihood from her own house. Following the development of the LSO and the linkages training, Khursheeda approached the local government to reopen a vacant vocational centre in Gharo and moved the activity to this new premises. The Production Centre now employs and provides a means of livelihood for 50 women.

Khursheeda also mobilized the local community to protest the apathy of local bodies towards cleanliness and hygiene in the neighborhood and was able to get trash collection from the vicinity organized on a daily basis. She also alerted and arranged for visits by the education dept. to local schools for monitoring of standards and teachers, a task which is often neglected by the department. She has now been named ‘NGO aunty’ by her neighbors, a name she is quite proud of. Khursheeda is a mother of 3 lovely children and credits her success to her supportive husband and mother.

Perhaps the most commendable is Khursheeda’s replication of the Livelihoods Program, where she facilitated Mena, a disabled woman from her neighborhood in setting up a confectionery business. Mena belonged to a family of 3 siblings, an elder sister who is a widow with 3 children, another sister who is completing her BA and a jobless brother. “She used to find it difficult to walk due to disfigurement in her legs and she would have to go to people’s houses to do laundry for which she would receive a paltry sum. ”

The business allows her to operate from her house. Her siblings tell us the business has resulted in a sense of responsibility and ownership in the girl. “She now saves her money to replenish stocks and doesn’t just waste all her earnings on paltry things. She has something to call her own and has plans to improve her life. It’s been a huge change for us as we do not have to worry about her survival any more,” says her elder sister.

Khursheeda has been able to extend her help to other needy people in the village. This shows how the Livelihood Program can come full circle and enable an overall improvement in poverty.

Khursheeda with her 2 girls
Khursheeda with her 2 girls
Khursheeda and Mena, a disabled girl she helped
Khursheeda and Mena, a disabled girl she helped

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Feb 18, 2015

Life changes for 3 women of a Village in Pakistan

Hameeda with the calf of her cow
Hameeda with the calf of her cow

What does providing an alternative source of livelihood to a woman actually achieve? Is it just a source of income? Indus Earth Trust works with the vision of “Development with Dignity” with the firm belief it can be a starting point of overall improvement in a community. The three stories mentioned in this month’s global giving report show how three women in Indus Earth Trust’s Livelihood development programme has the potential to bring about a forward looking change in a community.

Asset: Cow worth USD 300

Beneficiaries:

GulBibi - Grandmother supplementing husband's meagre income

Hameeda - Single mother bringing up 4 children

Noor Nisa - Married with 5 children supplementing husband's meagre income

 

Gul Bibi: An alternative source of livelihood eliminates the availability of an addictive substance

Who would have thought that a single productive asset- a cow would impact the lives of an entire village. The community of Shafi Mohammed Brohi village, located in the UC Gharo in Sindh Pakistan, suffered from a chronic problem. , More than 90% of the villagers were addicted to Ghutka (betel nut and slake lime concoction) – a cancer causing substance. This was mainly due to the easy availability of this highly addictive mouth cancer causing substance, which was sold by one of the village inmates, GulBibi. GulBibi’s husband was struggling to make ends meet. She tried to pitch in to the household income by selling small confectionery items from her house, including Ghutka, which was in demand.

One of the conditions of the transfer of the asset of the cow for GulBibi was the stopping the sale of this addictive substance. “I used to make Rs. 100-150, now my savings are 1000 to 1500 a month,” GulBibi informs us. She sells the milk from her cow to the local milk collectors for resale. Her need for additional income is now taken care of by the cow and therefore the Ghutka is no longer part of her entrepreneurial venture.

Hameeda: Restoring a Battered Mother’s Pride

In the same village, Hameeda, a single woman with 4 children declares that her life has changed since she acquired the asset of a cow. Hameeda got married young. He husband was a heroin addict. Her 4 children were born while suffering from constant abuse and hunger due to the fact that her husband did not work.

 Her husband finally deserted her and she came to live with her father. Her father had to bear the additional burden of her family of 4 small children. With cow her life changed. “The cow had a small calf and gave birth to another one. I now have three cows. I sell the milk and give my children milk and Lassi (a local drink made from yougurt and milk) to drink.”

How has life changed for Hameeda? Dressed well, proud and full of life she tells me, she saves 1500-2000 per month. “My son works in a factory nearby and brings home an income.. It is not him I am worried about.He can look after himself.” She confides with pride. “I am educating my daughters and saving up for their marriage. I am no longer dependent on my father. I am my own master.”

Noor Nisa: Envisioning a better quality of life.

Her friend Noor Nisa has also benefitted from a cow. “My kids would have tea with out milk, now I can give my 5 children milk to drink.” Noor Nisa also saves 1500 to 2000 a month from her earnings. “We have a Village Organisation of Women in the Village. Hameeda is the president of the organization. All the women contribute Rs. 50 per month to the common pool.” I ask, “And what will you do with this money?”“Indus Earth Trust (IET) has given us solar lights and water pumps so now we have light in our house and in the village square. "We also have running water. We can save up for more development projects. Perhaps IET can build us our houses like they built the village school. We can use this money for our contribution to the development project,” the women inform us with pride. The difference is that now the women can be shapers of their own development directions, as well as contributors.

Noor Nisa
Noor Nisa's daughter with the water pump
Gul Bibi, no longer selling harmful substances
Gul Bibi, no longer selling harmful substances
Noor Nisa, Hameeda and Gul Bibi
Noor Nisa, Hameeda and Gul Bibi
Nov 18, 2014

Help 100 Pakistani women have better lives

Hema of Essa Jamadaar Village in UC Gharo
Hema of Essa Jamadaar Village in UC Gharo

Grandmother Hema helping her grandchildren get an education

Beneficiary of-Stocking a Grocery Shop

Status: Married, supporting herself and her husband and her sending her son’s children - 2 boys and a girl to school.

Hema is a grandmother with dreams…..dreams to do for her grandchildren what she couldn’t for her own children. Her motivation for applying to LEEDP –Livelihood Enhancement and Entrepreneurship Development Programme of Indus Earth Trust (IET) for and acquiring the small grocery shop was to be able to send her son’s children to school. “ I want them to be educated and get a good job. Somewhere in Karachi or Hyderabad, maybe they can join the police…” she tells me with a twinkle in her eye as she dreams of a future for them her own son couldn’t have.

Hema and her husband belong to a small minority village in UC Gharo and have worked as laborers tending to the fields of the local landlord to make a living. Her son also works for the same landlord. However the present generation can try to lift themselves out of this cycle of low-paid labor by acquiring an education made possible by the savings from the grocery shop.

Showing us around her well-stocked shop, Hema tells us that her shop is doing well due to the fact that the nearest shop is a 3km distance from the village. “All the women are happy,” she tells us. What about the men? “I don’t stock any tobacco or cigarettes so they have to walk the 3km for that,” she reveals. Why is that, I ask? “Well there is a fine if you stock any such thing, the Village Organisation (VO) set up by IET keeps a strict check.” Hema underwent an intensive training conducted by IET to first teach the beneficiary the basics of entrepreneurship. “We were taught how to keep books, save and then reinvest. They told us saving is the only way out of our poverty. We have to fight poverty.”

Hema has made a start with her fight against poverty. She starts business at 8am and closes shop at 7pm. She is fighting poverty due to the assets transferred to her through the LEEDP Programme of IET, but there are many like her still out there waiting for a chance.

 

Sohni, will enter married life as an empowered partner

Beneficiary of-Cow

Status: Single, running a business, saving for her marriage, and sending her little brother to school.

Sohni is a young woman in search of a good match. Like other girls from Sindhi villages she wants to settle down with a husband. But here is the difference. She does not want to go into her married life as dependent partner. She is empowered and can bring a running business along with the marriage contract, a business owned and run by her.

Sohni applied for the LEEDP programme of IET and opted for a cow as an asset.Belonging to a family of 11 people -8 siblings and 2 parents, it was a tough existence. Sohni and her 4 sisters, and 4 brothers barely survived on their father’s meager income, he worked as a laborer. None of the children had any education and nor did they learn any skill. The brothers grew up to be laborers like their father and the daughters helped the mother in the housework and embroidered in their spare time, as do most women in the rural areas. The father has only been able to arrange for the marriage of one offspring as yet.

 Sohni’s acquisition of the cow has been a transforming act in this house-hold as well as the village. It proves that women can be participants in income generation helping and supplementing the incomes of their fathers, brothers and husbands. But they can also be owners of their own assets.

 Sohni is saving up for her marriage, acquiring assets, which will allow her father to find her a good match, as a marriage requires that a father offer some assets along with the girl. She sells 2 kgs of milk a day to the villagers and is also saving to expand her business to buy another cow. Sohni has also put her youngest brother aged 5 in school to get an education, something none of her older siblings have been able to do.

Does the father and brother have issues with a woman becoming empowered, as Sindh has a strong patriarchal system? “No I am happy she is making money and saving up for her marriage,” says the father. Do you share her earnings? “No she does not share her earnings with us, she keeps her savings like a true business woman, she want to expand her business,” says her father proudly. “She doesn’t give us any milk for free, not even to her sisters, and now they are also getting motivated to earn, as Sohni has done.”

Hema and her husband in their shop
Hema and her husband in their shop
Sohni- saving up for her marriage
Sohni- saving up for her marriage
Sohni with her brother who she is helping educate
Sohni with her brother who she is helping educate

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