A skill and an art

Skills training in Chakwal has something to offer to the artistically inclined as well

Sania always felt an unfulfilled need that she could not name; a need to create, what, she did not know. Like all creative people she needed a channel to express herself. Sania has lived her entire 22 years in Chakwal, in a remote community that offers no instruction or opportunities to the artistically inclined. Living in poverty, also, is a characteristic of her community that every family can relate to.

Limited livelihood opportunities and supporting a large family (Sania has 6 sisters and 2 brothers) led Sania’s father to discontinue her education after the 10th grade; mobility was also an issue.

More than skills training

When Plan and its partners initiated the FLNO funded Youth Economic Empowerment Project (YEEP) in Sania’s village, she was instinctively drawn to the embroidery course designed for young people. After learning more about the trainings Sania formed a group with other young girls fimage002rom the community and embarked on a three months extensive training course in Addah (dress embroidery). Here, finally, was an outlet for her creative aspirations.

It also offered an opportunity to acquire skills to earn a livelihood – income that Sania could use to support herself and her family. The course included information about materials and fabric, and learning to use new tools. To Sania, however what mattered most were colours, patterns and design. And driving her on was the knowledge that at the end of three months she would be able to create not only the intricate patterns she saw pictures of, but also new, original designs brought forth through her expression.

Sania says that attending the training made her happy and did not seem like work: “It quenched my thirst for being innovative and also was an opportunity to learn new skills to support my family”. She also said that young girls like to wear embroidered dress in her village and the demand of her services is increasing every day.

image003The pay off

On average, Sania designs three to four dresses every month and earns a profit of Rs. 1000 PKR (approximately $10 US) on each dress.

Says Sania: “Once I have saved enough money I will try and expand my business. I have already contacted a boutique to see whether they like my designs”.

Sania wants to share her knowledge of embroidery and gives regular lessons to young girls interested in learning Addah Work.

“My skills are not only benefiting my community, but also allow me to lend a helping hand to support my family.” – Sania, 22 years, Chakwal

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About Plan Pakistan
Plan is committed to achieving a world in which all children realise their full potential in societies that respect people’s rights and dignity. Plan Pakistan’s operations commenced in 1997 and the organisation currently implements programmes and campaigns in 21 districts in all 5 provinces of Pakistan using the Child Centered Community Development (CCCD) approach.

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