Islamabad – Robina Kosar, a 27-year-old widow, is supporting her family in a village of Skardu, Gilgit–Baltistan, by pursuing a profession for livelihood rarely opted by women; she is an electrician.
A mother of two was devastated when her husband died of cancer about four years ago. She had to look after her children, her ailing parents and younger siblings. Having an inborn inclination towards electrical work, she got herself enrolled in a project called ‘enhancing capability and leadership for youth’ run by the Aga Khan Rural Support Programme (AKRSP).
After undergoing a short training of two months, Kosar started repairing small electrical appliances and electrical wire systems. She runs a shop of electrical supplies and accessories at home also. Her average earning is Rs 30,000 per month.
As she chose to travel a path less travelled by, the people in her village were shocked, initially. “People used to be amazed initially, but now they have become familiar. My many customers are now women. And many women aspire to join different non-traditional professions and men don’t object,” she said.
Kosar along with other women entrepreneurs from rural settings was participating a Women’s Economic Empowerment Forum organised yesterday by the High Commission of Canada.
The Forum brought together a wide range of development professionals and partners, rural women, the private sector, government representatives, experts on gender and economic participation, as well as practitioners.
Yasmeen Kareem, gender advisor at AKRSP, said under the said project in Gilgit-Baltistan about 20,000 rural youth were trained with different professional skills and among them 50 percent were women.
She said an assessment revealed that 70 percent of women got involved in decision-making and domestic violence and poverty reduced after women became economically empowered after trainings and starting their businesses.
The Canadian government has been running various projects through local and international non-governmental organisations in various districts to empower disadvantaged rural women as well as for poverty alleviation.
This forum gave a platform to rural women entrepreneurs who benefited from such projects and share their experiences and stories.
Source: The Nation