In Pakistan, over one-third of young women like Chandra, aged 15-24, have no education. They face significant discrimination which prevents them from participating in family made decisions, with fathers or husbands taking decisions on how to spend the family’s money.
Chandra is 17 years old and lives with her parents and five siblings in Mandal Otaaq, Pakistan. Before she joined our project she was picking cotton to support her family, working alongside her mother and sisters for around 9 hours each day in the sweltering heat.
“Before the project I already had some embroidery skills and used to do some work for women’s dowries. I wanted to be part of this project to increase my skills so I could start earning an income from my work.”
Thanks to the YMCA training, Chandra learnt new embroidery skills including how to design new products and how to plan production. She also had a chance to work in a group and improve her communication and negotiation skills.
“After the training I was able to use a mobile phone, make calculations and write my own name.
I now work about two hours each day doing the embroidery. The work is much safer than when I picked cotton.”
Chandra is now part of a group of embroiderers creating traditional produce that they sell in local markets and city markets in major urban areas such as Karachi. Business is thriving, and they are now receiving regular orders for goods.
“Before the project I didn’t know anything about how to sell my products or access the market but now we are getting orders. I can now apply my time management skills to ensure that I deliver my work on time.
My family are proud of me and my work. Before they restricted me and my actions but now they are very supportive. In the next few years I want to continue school and then I want to become a teacher.
I think it’s important that more young women are trained in these skills.”
Many disadvantaged young people, especially young women, are often isolated within their communities, lack support from their families and face discrimination from the wider community. Now, through Y Care International programmes, we are helping young people like Chandra to gain a foothold in the local market to help grow their businesses.