Lifting up women for community change

Since severe floods hit southern Pakistan in 2011, OM has continued to help communities be sustainable economically. OM’s sewing and computer training projects have trained over 300 women and youth to become skilled workers and earn income with dignity, since 2014. Many of the graduates of the skills training courses have secured jobs in the public and private sectors, and women are contributing successfully to their families’ incomes by stitching clothes from the comfort of their homes. The sewing and computer training have helped community members to sustain themselves and their families.

Surriya*, a trainer at one of OM’s sewing centres, shared her thoughts about the opportunities she has gained, saying, “I am very thankful to God and then the OM team, who took initiative to help the community through skills development training.

I am from this community and know the challenges. Women of my village were working as housemaids and farm workers. Often, they get much lower wages than men and face sexual harassment. All this was shameful and painful, but to support their households, women needed to continue to bear such treatments.

A lot has changed now. Those who learned to sew are earning good incomes, and their honour is safe. The graduates are sending more trainees to our centre and have started women’s awareness seminars. It is an honour to me that I am part of this transformational initiative in my own community. I am hopeful that this small step will make a big change in my community.”

Sana* is a graduate of the three-month sewing training at OM’s centre. She has many goals to support her family. Sana shared, “This training centre gave me new direction. I not only learnt how to stitch clothes but also how to live and face challenges. I want to help my family by stitching clothes. As I am encouraged by this training, I have already decided to send my younger sister here to learn.”

Another story of change belongs to Nadia*, who recently completed her computer training. She is very excited to have received training in computer technology and aims to be a software engineer. She shared, “I was way behind when I joined this academy. I am motivated through this course to strive ahead, and it has inspired me to reach for higher studies in computer technology from a university. I really appreciate this opportunity at this academy where I found myself becoming a role model for my community.”

*Name changed for security

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