My name is Riaz Hussain, and I belong to Marath, a town in the Chakwal district. Maraath is a small village of Union Council Begal in Chakwal Tehsil, where basic living facilities are scarce. The people here make a living from hard work and farming for themselves and their families. Well-off and prosperous people usually move to the cities as there are low or no basic facilities in Marath. I am 71 years old now. I served in the army for 23 years, and now I am running a shop in the village. Thank God there is no financial hardship. But I see that many families around me live a tough life. Among them are widows and divorced women living with their 2 or 3 daughters. And they do cleaning work in people’s homes to feed them. I often thought I wished I could make a permanent financial arrangement for these women. I would help these women and girls on my own, but my resources are limited. In September, I learned from a friend in Begal village that the Bedari has come to work for women’s economic empowerment and prosperity in our Union Council. My friend told me to arrange an awareness meeting in my village, to which I replied that it is not a difficult thing. I then approached Bedari and was invited to work for women and girls in my village. I was asked to arrange a meeting in Marath to be attended by all, including women, girls, and men of the village. Then a special day meeting was held in which all the participants were informed about the awareness and its work. It was also informed that Bedari would empower women to become economically prosperous and later provide them with support and advice for starting a business under its Girls Inspire project. During this meeting, 22 girls enrolled in a sewing course, and later 15 girls enrolled in a beautician course. A 2-month sewing course started during this time while a beautician course started in January. I supervised all these courses to ensure the attendance of girls and teachers. Meanwhile, in March, 7 women from our village took a one-day course in agricultural farming and nursery making. All the girls have completed the courses. 7 of them work as women’s tailors in the village. At the same time, 2 women have started growing vegetables indoors. In addition, 3 girls have started their beauty parlor. All these women and girls are employed and earning necessities for themselves and their families. Now I have started to identify those women and girls who will be trained in traditional couch and curtain making.
It is gratifying that the women and girls of my village are no less than anyone because they are skilled and employed. I want this trend to go further and more women and girls to be outsourced and employed.
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