Girls’ education and promoting gender equality is part of a broader, holistic effort by Community World Service Asia. Paveeta Dessar is a 16 years old artisan from Mandhal Otaaq Village in Umerkot. “My father’s name is Desar. He is a tailor in Umerkot. We are seven sisters and one brother. My father is the only bread earner for our family. He approximately earns PKR6000 a month. The challenges we face due to low income is lack of healthcare, limited resources and scarce education opportunities.
When we face health related problem, my father seeks financial help from my grandmother or uncle. If they too are unable to lend us money, we then borrow from neighbors. My mother earns very little through stitching clothes for residual villagers here. Since our family’s income is very limited, I had to quit school while I was in class six at the Government Girls High School in Umerkot.”
“I joined the skills center when it was established in our village. The trainings on skill development and literacy were very informative as some of the artisans did not even know how to write their names. I learnt stitching and embroidery skills at the center. I have worked on rillis and different products including blouses, dupattas and shirts. The quality and finishing of my products has improved exceptionally and my rilli work was most appreciated by the buyers. I use to do simple stitching at home, but the trainings have enhanced my skills in thread work and designing which has brought an exciting diversity in the products I make. Working with seasonal, wedding and family colors was new to me.”
Through the skill building classes, Paveeta has been able to earn PKR1500 per week by producing colorful handmade rillis through a local order she received. “Since the launch and our involvement in the brand Taanka, our products have become visible in the urban markets. As my handicraft sales have improved, I have started studying at the school again. My father and I both contribute to the educational expenses of all my siblings. I want to earn more to be able to bear all my educational expenses so that I can ease my father’s economic burden.”