In the midst of the rural structure small villages in district Thatta, where the calm wind from the ocean nearby moves back and forth in small wooden houses, rural women walk towards a beautiful building in the center of the village.
The faces of those women wearing the most colorful traditional dresses, speak of new purpose in their lives as they head to the perfect place to celebrate and carry forth that purpose. The initial Sughar Centers established in each village by Sughar Empowerment Society are now slowly being transformed into Sughar Women HUBs with the support of Trip Advisor, Global Giving, and the generous donors around the world.
What is a HUB?
A Sughar Women HUB encompasses the aim to mobilize not just the women but the civil society towards the cause of women empowerment where Sughar’s work is of a small fraction in changing women’s lives more effectively. When Sughar focuses on socio-economic empowerment, it encourages organizations working on education, health, climate, property rights, labor and others to come and work with these women in these beautifully built HUBs.
Why a HUB?
A well-built setup, organized women and a disciplined time of gathering allows other organizations to come and introduce their work, facilitate women leadership in other arenas where Sughar does not focus directly.
A New pace to Peer Education:
On a recent visit in the villages of Thatta where Sughar operates, it warmed my heart to see the way women interacted more freely, more powerfully and more joyously about their lives and their needs. The personal space of this Hub has given them the liberty to be man-free for at least a few hours and gossip, laugh, and whisper to each other about things they otherwise wouldn’t talk about.
I remember once asking a woman in interior Sindh about the new wonderful initiative in their village which built hand pumps in their own front yards.
“It’s great, but...” She said with something in her voice that indicated she didn’t know how to continue.
But what? I asked.
“But it kind of took away the fun of gathering the neighborhood girls in the morning and all of us going to fetch water for a few hours from the well outside of our village”, she responded.
It hit me hard to think how we look at joy and effort. Their effort of fetching water was outshone by their joy of being together and the reason to gather being socially acceptable.
Sughar makes HUBs socially acceptable.
A place to celebrate and learn as well as to earn income. What more could be defined as social acceptable?
We at Sughar strive to learn from rural women about how they can learn more effectively, more easily and being able to practice what they learn and sometimes the results surprise us.
How Sughar HUBs were formed?
Sughar HUBs are a learning that came out of Peer Education System inbuilt within the rural women. These women [And even rural men] tend to learn more in groups and are influenced by each other than strangers they only hear about. Real life stories challenge them, make them think and talk and hence take action.
YOU made it happen!
We are extremely thankful to all of you for making this happen! So far two Centers from more then 20 around Pakistan have been transformed into HUBs where women gather and learn together alongside earning income and helping their families prosper because they prosper first.
Today when I am writing this, my heart fills with not only enormous amount of gratitude for your support but with great power with the realization of having you beside us, standing with us for this noble cause.
From the past two months our team has been hard at work on the ground after receiving your donation support to shape it into impact for the women in tribal villages of Pakistan. The process has been tough and wonderful! Our team's hardwork and your support has helped us take the project off the ground and now that its actively running we are honored to share this update with you!
Shaping the Project:
The project began was designed to follow the main structure of Sughar, where our focus is to create a Sughar Center inside the village where women from every household would come everyday to go through a life changing cycle of enterprise development training, basic education, life skills and value addition of embroidery. The project is designed to be completed in a year, while the past two months have kept us busy in the following activities!
Our main goal was to select two new villages for our activities. How do we select 2 villages within all those is defined by a set of criterias that we look for in our baseline surveys. Our team at Sughar did a thorough survey around the tribal villages of Thatta District in Sindh province and came to the conclusion to select two villages for this core project that you have supported! [The villages mapped out for you below]
After the main activity of selecting a village our whole focus shifts to mobilizing that community to work with us. This is thought to be the most toughest activity as it aims to seek the consent of the tribal elders and religious leaders of the community. Our team organized meetings with them, convincing them on our goal to promote their tradition and to provide income support to their families and usually when it takes a few months to find positive response from these villages our team was able to convince the tribal elders to not only let us inside their village but to work with us to make this project much better!
Organization of women groups:
One of our main initial activities is to organize village groups and women groups to help women come together as a community. This helps throughout the project in building saving groups, registering their local corporation or even to connect women together more for peer to peer education techniques. Two women groups were formed with the name of Rani Sughar Group and Nasim Sughar Group.
Establishment of Centers:
Finally when the whole village especially the tribal leaders are in our support, we proceeded to the construction of the Sughar Centers. The construction was a wonderful process of learning for all of us! Sughar team brought engineers and designers from Karachi to design a beautiful learning place for women where they are able to sit together in an open space, with light, air and clean space. The establishment took 3 weeks within each village and in the end the villagers and kids came together to paint those Centers in their favorite colors!
[More on the structure of Sughar Centers in the next report]
However, we are delighted to see the process going ahead soon! Our main motto was to involve the local leaders as much as we can in the activities and it seems every new day brings more hope for our team with smiles, support and love from everyone in the communities we work with!
Thank you so much for your support once again!
Love and Respect,
Sughar Empowerment Society
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