Ensure 100 Pakistani women have a better life

by Indus Earth Trust
Vetted
Zainab in her beauty parlour
Zainab in her beauty parlour

Zainab, learned Beauty care skills from a salon owned by a lady from Karachi. "The lady was very nice and supportive she taught me a lot of things." But after the trainings Zainab was unable to practise her newly aquired skills due to a lack space and unavailabiltiy of finaces to help her set up her own business. "Indus Earth Trust (IET) helped me get a place, products and furniture for my own salon." Zainab used to earn a mere Rs. 2000-3000 (US$ 20-30) but after her own business was set up she earns between Rs. 6000 going up to 15,000 (US$ 60-150) specially during the wedding season. She is also able to send her son to school and also plans to send her daughter to school when she reaches the school age. 

Meena with her Asset - sewing machine
Meena with her Asset - sewing machine

Meena’s life is hard. She is a single woman, whose parents are deceased, and she now lives with a widowed sister and her brother in District Thatta, UC Gharo. She worked very hard to earn a living washing and ironing clothes that she collected from the neighborhood. The earing was just enough to cover the cost of their meals twice or thrice a day depending on the amount of laundry they received. Her sister who is educated, gives home tuitions due to having small children, but her earnings are limited as most of her time is spent looking after her small orphaned children. However that is not the only reason why Meena’s life is hard. Meena is disabled.

She has had to struggle all her life for social acceptability. Her physical condition severely affected her earning and living and consequently affected her social interactions. Her disability, a disfigurement in her legs makes movement and walking a very painful experience and thus restricts her ability to go out and seek a livelihood.

Meena received an asset of a Sewing machine and handicraft accessories including beads, mirrors and sequins as part of the LEED Program. Meena used her skills in stitching to launch a home-based stitching business. Along with the stitching business she has also launched an accessories business using the beads and sequins and decorating different items like soap dishes, bottles, combs which are in demand as dowry items especially during the wedding season. Meena has diverted her increased earnings to purchasing further assets, two goats, whose milk she sells and makes further money. The family is now better placed to ensure their health and nutritional needs are taken care of. But more than that Meena has a sense of achievement and a future to look forward to. 

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Nasreen displaying her handiwork
Nasreen displaying her handiwork

The problems faced by women in rural Sindh are many, how to increase income and ensure a better life being a primary one. However the increase in income is not possible without the provision of basic infrastructural needs like water, electricity and road access. Indus Earth Trust works on a model of Integrated Development, which identifies the needs of our beneficiaries in a wholistic way and creates projects that respond to their many problems. In this way we ensure developement is real. The villagers of Mir Bahar Hashim decided that increasing health and security of their women and children would greatly effect any income genration effort. IET’s Poverty Score Card survey identified the village as a deserving village Asset Transfer, however the villagers identified the provision of light as the frist step followed by Asset Tasnfer to ensure best results. IET has installed 4 units of Solar Lights in the village and is now getting ready for Asset Transfer. Read the inspiring story and donate to imporve the qulaity of life for the forward thinking women of this village. 

Nasreen is a young mother of one, a two-year old son Faiz Mohammed. Nasreen’s husband makes his living through fishing due to which he is away at night and returns home at day-break. Nasreen’s village like other villages in rural Sindh is located in an isolated area, lacks water and electricity and is cut off from the main highways and settlements due to a dearth of road networks. Nasreen’s nights are thus often spent in fear of attacks by snakes, stray animals and thieves who steal the village livestock and poultry. Nasreen preserves herself and her son by lighting wood fires at night, which are both dangerous and the smoke from the fires cause eye irritation and skin diseases.

Nasreen is extremely happy with the choice of the village based Community Organization to opt for light as the primary intervention. She is now safe from the predators and thieves. Nasreen works under the light of the newly installed solar home lights to create beautiful beadwork and embroidery, which she sells through an agent. Her productivity has increased from two units of hand-embroidered pieces to four. Nasreen now is excitedly awaiting the next stage of IET’s intervention of Asset Transfer so she can further increase her income and send her boy Faiz Mohammed to school. Nasreen feels that without the provision of Solar Light the Asset Transfer scheme would been partially beneficial for her. She can now work after sunset, after she is free from her household chores and her child is sleeping.  She also feels her earnings will be solely diverted to more productive use as her child and her are already enjoying better health due to the absence of the smoke of the wood fires.

Nasreen plans to expand her bussiness
Nasreen plans to expand her bussiness
the light of her life, her son.
the light of her life, her son.
Farzana in her shop
Farzana in her shop

Farzana is single, she has not been married.

She was one of the deserving women identified as a beneficiary through Indus Earth Trust’s (IET) Poverty Score Card survey, which gauges the economic conditions of people before giving them any asset.  Farzana was supporting 12 children of her widowed sister and her parents.  Women in rural areas marry early and Farzana’s sister was no exception. When her husband suddenly died 13 years into their marriage leaving her with 12 children, she had no choice but to ask her sister Farzana for financial help.  Farzana, however was an exception.  She had not want to settle down to a typical early marriage and instead opted to learn to drive motorbike and a car. She also made money by practicing the home-based crafts of beadwork and sprang weaving, which was practiced by the women in her family. Her unconventional choices were supported by her father.

When she took on the responsibility of supporting her widowed sister she knew the small amounts earned by her in a month would no longer be enough. She applied for asset transfer through IET’s program.

Opting for the asset of a grocery store, she ran it successfully for 2 years. With the savings from the store she bought a sound system, which she began to rent out for town celebrations, including marriage ceremonies and traditional festivals. She also undertook the trainings on business development and enhancement, which are part of IET's Asset transfer procedure. Through these trainings she was able to identify an opportunity for business expansion and growth in her locality. Most women in the area practiced the crafts of beadwork and sprang weaving. However the raw material for the finished products was expensive and difficult to come by as the middle men supplying the materials charged high prices and did not keep up regular supply. Farzana sold off her grocery store and started stocking up on the raw materials. For this she travelled to Karachi city and bought the material on wholesale rates, which she then sold from her shop at less than the market rate. She soon had a flourishing business with a constant demand for the materials. “Women prefer my shop because the beads and thread I sell is of good quality and at competitive prices. My shop is in the residential areas and they do not have to travel to the town market to buy material. I also take care to buy those beads and ornaments, which are not easily available in the town. You can say I offer new stuff, stuff that they have not seen before.”

She has now expanded her business to a proper premises, and also stocks her own creations there. From her savings she has bought goats that she intends to sell at the time of Eid-ul Azha (Religious festival of sacrifice). Asked whether her family has any issues with her travelling to Karachi, a good 3 hours by road, for her supplies, she laughs. “My mother sometimes travels with me, sometimes I go alone. I have made many contacts in Karachi, and my family does not worry.” What about marriage? “You can say I am waiting for the right person, someone who supports my business and understands my need to work” she replies.

Farzana’s business means an assured income and support for her orphaned nieces and nephews and her parents. For the girls of her locality and town, it’s a great example of breaking the stereotype and charting a way forward for and empowered and independent life. 

Farzana with her creations
Farzana with her creations
Farzana and her mother
Farzana and her mother

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Rubina, an entrepreneurial spirit
Rubina, an entrepreneurial spirit

Rubina lives in a small village near Hawkesbay, Karachi and is a mother of 5 daughters.

She was identified as a beneficiary through Indus Earth Trust’s Poverty Score Card survey, which gauges the economic conditions of people before giving them any asset.  Rubina’s husband was a daily wage earner whose income was severely affected due to the violence in the areas surrounding Lyari and Mauripur.  Erratic law and order situation in the area meant that Rubina and her family including twins girls, one of whom had a heart condition, often went without sufficient food.

For Rubina the asset transfer of 4 goats meant a new lease on life.  Blessed with an entrepreneurial mind, Rubina used the assets to transform her life. The village suffers from lack of fresh water supply and infrastructure. Villagers have to spend meager incomes in buying water. However they also had another limitation, that of storing the water. 

By selling the offspring of her goats she raised enough money to construct a water storage facility for the villagers.  Charging the villagers for the storage and supply of water she raised more money and bought her husband a motorcycle. This meant that her husband was no longer dependent on the public transport system, which would be shut down due to violence and could get to work regularly thereby being able to earn a more regular income. The villagers were able to have a sustained supply of fresh drinking water. 

Rubina also uses the milk from her goats for her daughters. One of the twins, Sajda has a heart problem and needs surgery. The milk from the goats provides her with much needed nourishment. Previously she needed to buy milk from the market. Now the milk from the goats is suffice. Rubina’s aim now is to get together enough money to get treatment for Sajda.

Rubina has now enrolled her elder daughter Bina in a local school and she is in class 4. She hopes to become a teacher and teach other children of her village. Bina informs me that she is grown up and does not need to drink milk but likes the milky tea her mother makes for her in the evenings. She helps her mother with the household chores, kneads dough and makes chappatis for the family. Bina loves her goats but gets sad when the mother sells the goats. Her favorite goat is the “one that looks like a deer.”  Even though Bina feels sad when the goats are sold she is right now looking forward to new additions to the flock.

Two of Rubina’s goats are going to give birth. For Bina it means new pets to look after and love but for Rubina it might mean the surgery Sajda desperately needs.

Rubina with her girls
Rubina with her girls
Fighting for her daughter Sajda
Fighting for her daughter Sajda's survival
A positive outlook
A positive outlook
Bina helps with household chores
Bina helps with household chores

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Organization Information

Indus Earth Trust

Location: Karachi, Sindh - Pakistan
Website: http:/​/​www.indusearthtrust.org
Project Leader:
Shahid Sayeed Khan
CEO Indus Earth Trust
Karachi, Sindh Pakistan
$7,612 raised of $70,000 goal
 
91 donations
$62,388 to go
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