By Asghar Khan
Gilgit, October 21: An introductory session on Gems sector was organized by Rupani Foundation at Gemstone Enterprise Development Center, Zulfiqarabad, Gilgit. Senior representatives of Northern Areas Gems and Minerals Association (NAGMA), Local Tour Operators, AKRSP and Serena Hotel participated in this session.
Mr. Masaid Ullah Baig, Project Manager and Mr. Sultan Ahmed, CEO Rupani Foundation, briefed the participants about the objective of this session, as well as the vision or Rupani Foundation for Gems Sector Development (Mine to Market Program). The guests later visited the lapidary for Gemstone Cutting and Polishing Training to witness the operations, first hand.
After detailed visit of the facility, the participants of this session assembled for a brainstorming session on how to collaborate for overall development of gems sector in the region. All stakeholders showed their great appreciation and admiration for the progress made thus far and also committed to work in a more collaborative manner for the development of gems sector which will ultimately bring positive impact in poverty reduction and economic development.
Established in 2006, Rupani Foundation aims to reduce poverty, enhance technical skills of women and unemployed youth, as well as promote social entrepreneurship and joint ventures. The Foundation has expanded its scope internationally and currently operates in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and the United States. Rupani Foundation’s vision is to become a global leader in the sustainable development of mountain communities which today continue to remain neglected throughout the world.
The Foundation, in collaboration with the Aga Khan Rural Support Programme (AKRSP) and Karakoram Area Development Organization (KADO), has established Gemstone Cutting and Polishing Training Centers across Gilgit – Baltistan as well as Chitral district and has trained 400 people in need of support, of which 55 percent were women. Many of these graduates have emerged as Master Trainers and Supervisors, and have now assumed a multitude of responsibilities in the production units. Plans are underway to convert the existing centers into half training and half production.