SRSO in Print Media


Universally accepted fact that education plays a pivotal role in social, political, economic and moral development of a society, summons more attention to the matter, especially in the currently polarized developing societies. As education greatly helps in eradicating poverty and allied societal problems, so in this context, the United Nations committing to the 2030 agenda for sustainable development, recognized that “eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions, including extreme poverty, is the greatest global challenge and an indispensable requirement for sustainable development.”
The UNESCO Global Education Monitoring Report and the Education Commission’s Learning Generation Report provide important evidence on the impact of education on individual’s earnings and economic growth. Some of the finds illustrate that education reduces poverty by increasing individual earnings, thus paves the way for reducing economic inequalities.
When it comes to Pakistan, Though since time of independence, it has evolved significantly in many sectors, yet education sector still leaves much to be desired. Lack of focused intervention will certainly make the situation grave with every passing day and unattended matters will keep haunting us. Education system in Pakistan because of its unsteady character is making the youth face the brunt; females more than males. Though covered under article 25-A of the Constitution of Pakistan, education is the basic right of all children aged 5-16 years old; however, this right is not being given due attention.
The political governments seem more focused on infrastructure development programmes to whitewash their election campaigns, rather than working for the human development indicators, which are otherwise essential for sustained development. Primarily fueled by the socio-economic and budgetary constraints, 22.8 million children of school going age are out of school in Pakistan (UNICEF). A report by the Idara-i-Taleem-o-Agahi titled ‘Measuring the Impact of COVID-19 on Education in Pakistan’ portrays a grim picture which reflects that the enrolment of girls aged 5-16 years is merely 39 per cent. Considering the 49.2 per cent women population in Pakistan, this figure would further decay the social fabric of the society and significantly hinder the socio-economic development if not addressed at priority. Every government in the past has made tall claims about revamping the education sector yet failed to spend more than 2 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on education. At the community level, one of the key challenges is low level adult literacy and lack of effective demand for children’s education.
Common hardships to education sector in economically constrained countries including Pakistan are; Lack of funding, having no teachers or untrained teachers, absence of class rooms, lack of teaching material, exclusion of children with disability, gender bias, conflict in the area, distance from school and expense of education.
In the backdrop of Government of Pakistan’s facing difficulty in addressing the issue at its own, especially when the number of out of school children is high and facilities are meager due to economic constraints, role of civil society run programmes takes paramount importance. In Pakistan, this void, to some extent, is being filled by the Rural Support Programmes (RSPs) that are working for the betterment of the local community in Pakistan, especially, women’s empowerment and girls’ education. In this context, Sindh Union Council and Community Economic Strengthening Support (SUCCESS) Programme, implemented by Rural Support Programmes Network and its three RSPs, is one such programme that is playing a pivotal role in women development in rural areas of Sindh.
“No nation can rise to the height of glory, unless women are side by side with you” - Muhammad Ali Jinnah
The Father of the Nation, Quaid-e-Azam, highlighted the importance of women’s empowerment seven decades ago, but this still remains a dream. SUCCESS is contributing its role in providing literacy and economic assistance to many vulnerable women of rural Sindh under the Programme; 1400 Adult Literacy and Numeracy Skills (ALNS) centers have been established in eight districts to enroll 35,000 illiterate adolescent and women. ALNS center Samai Unar in Larkana district, is one of the shining examples of what could be achieved with little will and determination. The center that was embraced by the local community with open arms won their hearts, as it provided a ray of hope for young girls and women. The center hosts 20 learners, ranging from 16 to 62 years of age, who are inducted for an emergency education intervention for a period of 8 months. They are taught by a graduate from the same village who teaches basic reading and writing skills in English, Sindhi and Mathematics. Upon completion, the learners receive a certificate equivalent to passing grade two. It may seem that the project is operating on a small scale, but the acceptance of the local community and the impact it is creating is a real success. Many of the housewives waking up in the early hours of the morning to balance their house chores with classes reflect their desire for education and commitment to passion. Previously, these girls did not have access to any formal education and those, who did have access, did not have the liberty to study alongside boys, owing to decades’ old taboos and cultural norms.
These centers provide the girls and women exposure to basic numeracy, English and Sindhi reading, writing and speaking skills. Many are now able to read labels and expiry dates on medicines and signs at the hospitals where they visit frequently with their families. These small interventions are a breath of fresh air, but they need the government’s support for a sustainable future and effective utilization of these women centers. The government must ensure that women are facilitated at the village level by addressing the cultural challenges which are roadblocks to women’s education. Female teachers must be made available to girls’ schools to uplift the community. ALNS centers could be utilized as a Launchpad for women’s education in rural areas; however, it is up to the policy-makers to devise sound development policies to carry on the education of these girls after grade two. Induction of girls to regular classes regardless of age, additional funding in the education sector, hiring of more female teachers from local areas and establishment of small women-only-facilities would be an appreciable start. SUCCESS has also made significant headways to strengthen the local community by organizing them into community institutions to support the community in achieving economic growth and sustainability. Local Support Organization (LSO) Noor, fostered at union council level, operating in Larkana, made commendable efforts to help the local community ensure socio-economic development: 100 pc member households have been administered corona vaccine during the pandemic with the help of the government health department, community members were educated about the importance of sanitation, more than 500 students were enrolled in schools after the LSO took an initiative to revamp three schools in the area, and a school was renovated and made operational with the help of local authorities and SUCCESS so that children could re-enter local schools.
For any society to achieve prosperity, it is a prerequisite to invest in education as it is the only way to help people out of the poverty trap. Even though public-private partnerships could play a crucial role in the betterment of any society whilst taking the strain off the government, the government must devise sustainable policies that would enable less privileged households to access education. Emergency interventions by international donors could also be catered to benefit from the individuals who received education through them.
The government may consider partnership with international and national donors working in the education sector in Pakistan. Furthermore, the policy-makers could introduce a legislation where all the business owners and industrialists, earning over a certain amount, must adopt a school and is made responsible for its high performance. Many businesses may also pool in money to support such initiatives. This would be more effective as the money would be directed to that school and the donor would take ownership of the students in that school. Industry supported schools may offer technical education, which subsequently can provide skilled manpower to the industry with vocational training relevant to the industry. This would directly serve the need of the industry and increase the employment rate in Pakistan. Private schools in Pakistan generate billions in revenue and have the expertise as well. They should be incentivized to adopt and operate schools in far-flung areas and train teachers.
This would not only help the local community but would also provide teachers the necessary skills to teach the future generation of Pakistan in an efficient manner. The education system in Pakistan needs an overhaul but only sound policies and help from programmes like SUCCESS, it could be achieved in an efficient manner with less economic strain on the government.

Read Complete Article  

پچاس ڈگری گرمی میں دیہی عورتوں کے ساتھ

اسلام آباد میں املتاس کے پھول کھلے تھے اور سیاست میں سب گفت و ناگفت حضرات سیاسی گُل کھلا رہے ہیں۔ میں نے فیصلہ کیا کہ دل جلانے سے بہتر ہے کہ میں کوئی باقاعدہ کام ہوتا ہوا دیکھ لوں۔ سندھ کے دیہات میں ’’سرسو‘‘ اور این آر ایس پی نے کیا کیا؟ میں نے دل سنبھال کے جانے کا پروگرام اس شدید گرمی میں اس لیے بنایا کہ مجھے سچ لکھے اور سچ دیکھے ہوئے مدت ہو گئی تھی۔ اللہ کا نام لیکر سکھر کے لیے روانہ ہوئی۔ 50ڈگری سورج کی دھوپ میرا امتحان لے رہی تھی اور میں تھی کہ شکارپور، لاڑکانہ، میرپور اور مورو کے دیہات میں عورتوں کے تعلیمِ بالغاں، صحت اور کرافٹ کے مراکز میں دھول مٹی پھانکتی، دتل صاحب اور خواتین کارکنوں کو ساتھ لیے، گرمی کو پچھاڑتی، چلتی رہی۔ مورو میں تو حیران رہ گئی جب ایک لاکھ دس ہزار روپے لیکر خود لیبر بن کر ایک مولوی صاحب نے 25ہزار روپے ملاکر دو کمرے اور ایک برآمدہ بنا لیا تھا۔ کاش عمران خان ’’سرسو‘‘ کے کارندوں کے ساتھ مل کر 5لاکھ گھر بنا لیتے۔ دیہات میں خصوصاً جو کام گلی گلی ہوتا نظر آیا، وہ تھا سولر پلیٹیں بنانا اور پھر ان کا استعمال تقریباً ہر گھر، ہر بازار اور جھونپڑی والے تعلیمِ بالغاں کے اسکولوں میں بھی تھا۔ میں نے ڈرتے ڈرتے پوچھا ’’پیسے کہاں سے آئے‘‘؟ بولے قرض لیا دس ہزار، این آر ایس پی۔ اور ’’سرسو‘‘ سے۔ اب واپس کیسے کرو گے؟ بولے سال بھر میں ادا کرکے اور قرض لیکر کوئی اور کام کریں گے، یہی جواب بڑے اطمینان سے دیہات کی خواتین بھی دے رہی تھیں۔ کمال بات تو یہ ہے کہ سندھ بھر میں لڑکیوں کے اسکول بہت کم ہیں مگر لڑکیاں بھی پرائمری اسکول میں پڑھنے کے بعد، مڈل اور میٹرک کبھی کسی اور اسکول میں داخلہ لیکر اور کبھی پرائیوٹ میٹرک پاس کر لیتی ہیں۔ چونکہ اب ہر لڑکی پاس فون کی سہولت موجود ہے، اس نے خود ہی نیٹ پر آرڈر لینے، کشیدہ کاری، رلی بنانے اور طرح طرح کے اچار بناکر مارکیٹ میں فروخت کرنے کا گر سیکھ لیا ہے۔ بہت سی شادی شدہ اور کنواری خواتین نے، پودے خرید کر نرسریز بنائی ہیں۔ کسی نے دکان گھر کے ایک کمرے یا کونے میں بناکر، بچوں کی اسکول کی کتابیں، کاپیاں اور روزمرہ استعمال کی چیزیں فروخت کرنا شروع کی ہیں۔ ایک خاتون نے اپنی ماں کا گھر خواتین مارکیٹ کے لیے وقف کردیا ہے۔ ایک صاحب جو اسکول میں پڑھاتے رہے، ریٹائرمنٹ کے بعد اپنے کمرے کو لائبریری میں تبدیل کردیا ہے، انہوں نے ہی اپنا برآمدہ ان لڑکیوں کے لیے وقف کردیا ہے، جہاں لڑکیاں کھڈیاں لگاکر کام سیکھ رہی ہیں اور ساتھ ہی کپڑے کا آرڈر لینا بھی سیکھ رہی ہیں۔ چونکہ این آر ایس پی اور میرے کھڈیوں کے کام کو آگے بڑھانے میں کوئی بیس برس صرف ہوئے، انجام اچھا نہیں تھا کہ لڑکیاں کام سیکھ کر، جہیز بنانے کے بعد شادی کرکے کسی دوسرے شہر چلی جاتی تھیں، گھر اتنے چھوٹے تھے کہ وہ گھر میں کھڈی لگا نہیں سکتی تھیں، اس لیے کام تو چلتا رہا مگر انجام کچھ اچھا نہیں ہوا، اس کے برعکس ’’سرسو‘‘ نے یہ منصوبہ بنایا ہے کہ جو لڑکی کام میں مہارت حاصل کرکے روزانہ چھ گز کپڑا بنائیگی، اس کو کھڈی انعام میں دے دی جائے گی۔میں موہن جو دڑو کے گائوں سے واپس ریسٹ ہائوس میں کھانا کھانے پہنچی اور پوچھا کہ کھانا کس نے بنایا ہے۔ بتایا کہ اس علاقے کی ایک خاتون ہے جس کو آرڈر دے دیا جاتا ہے اور اس کو رقم دے دی جاتی ہے۔
دیہات میں ہر بڑی بوڑھی عورت، رلی بنانا گھر میں ایسے سیکھتی ہے جیسے گڈے گڑیا کے کپڑے سینا، غریب سے غریب گھر میں بھی کم از کم بیس رلیاں موجود ہوتی ہیں۔ ہر بیٹی کو شادی کے وقت دس رلیاں دی جاتی ہیں۔ اور اب تو نوجوان بچوں نے آٹھویں تک پڑھ کر، گھروں میں بنی رلیاں سڑک کنارے فروخت کرنا شروع کردی ہیں۔ خیرپور جہاں پہلے عورتیں صرف کھجوروں کا کام کرتی تھیں، انہوں نے تیار شدہ رلیوں کو گھر میں رکھا اور سڑک کنارے فروخت کرنے کے لیے ان نوجوانوں کو کام میں لگایا۔ ان کے ساتھ کبھی خاندان کا کوئی بزرگ اور کبھی ماں بھی موجود ہوتی ہے، ان کو دیکھ کر میرا جی چاہا کہ طالبان کو افغانستان سے بلاکر دکھائوں اور کہوں کہ تم تو پڑھی لکھی عورتوں پر پابندی لگارہے ہو، میں نے خود کابل، قندھار، ہرات کے دیہات میں افغانی کشیدہ کرتی خواتین دیکھی ہیں مگر میں کس کس کو دنیا بھر سے سمجھائوں گی۔ کیا میں نیو یارک میں 18سالہ سفید فام سے پوچھون گی کہ تم نے کالوں کو بےموت کیوں گولیوں سے چھلنی کردیا؟ مجھے واپس اپنے دیہات کی جانب آنا ہے۔ جہاں میٹرک کے امتحان میں بیشتر بچے، استاد کی موجودگی میں نقل کرکے میٹرک پاس کرتے ہیں۔ کوئی ٹوکتا ہی نہیں، جیسے خواتین نے بچے پیدا کرکے بھی تعلیم بالغاں کورس پاس کرکے اکائونٹ کھولنا اور اپنا نام لکھنے کے ساتھ قرضے کی رقم کی واپسی کا شیڈول بھی لکھنا سیکھ لیا ہے مگر ان کے مرد، ابھی تک وہی مزدوری کیے جانے پر مصر ہیں، جو ان کے باپ دادا کرتے آئے ہیں۔
ٹنڈو اللہ یار اور ٹنڈو محمد خاں میں بہت ہریالی اور آموں کے اتنے باغات ہیں کہ دیکھ کر قدرت کی عنایت پر رشک آتا ہے۔ نہروں میں پانی آنا شروع ہو گیا ہے۔ یہاں بھی تعلیمِ بالغاں کے مراکز زیادہ اور اسکولز بہت کم ہیں۔ ویسے بھی جہاں اسکول ہیں وہاں ٹیچر نہیں آتے، بچے بھی آنا چھوڑ دیتے ہیں۔ زیادہ تر علاقوں میں ابھی تک لڑکیوں کے اسکول نہیں۔ پانی کا بھی یہی مسئلہ کہ صاف پانی پہلے بہت کم تھا مگر اب پانی صاف کرکے سبز رنگ کے نلکوں میں آتا ہے اور دوسرا گدلا پانی، پینے کے علاوہ دیگر کاموں میں استعمال ہوتا ہے۔ سندھ میں چونکہ تعلیم بھی اور نصاب بھی سندھی ہی میں ہے۔ خواتین میں یہ شعور آگیا ہے کہ کزن سے شادی میں تھلیسیمیا کاڈر ہوتا ہے، اب چیک تو شادی سے پہلے نہیں کرواتے، البتہ کزن شادیوں سے اجتناب کرتے ہیں۔ اس طرح وٹے سٹے کی شادی اور کم عمر بچیوں کی شادی کے واقعات کو دیہات کی خواتین نے خود گروپ میں جاکر رکوایا اور کئی جگہ تو تھانے جاکر پولیس کو ساتھ لے آئیں۔ سندھ کے جن دیہات میں مَیں گئی، ان میں کوئی پندرہ لڑکیوں نے بی۔اے کر لیا ہے۔ کچھ تو اپنے علاقے میں ہی ملازمت کررہی ہیں اور کچھ بزنس پر آمادہ نظر آئیں۔ میں نے تو وہاں کے اسٹاف اور سربراہوں سے مشورہ کرکے ان تمام لڑکیوں اور خواتین کو لوکل باڈیز اور صوبائی اسمبلی کے الیکشن میں حصہ لینے کی ترغیب دی ہے۔ شاید ان کی محنت سے ہی ملک کی تقدیر بدل سکے۔

Read Complete Article  

Young craftswomen near the remains of ancient Moen Jo Daro are making a name for themselves

Growing up in Haji Lal Bux Shaikh near the historical remains of Moen Jo Daro, Samreen Solangi found her niche making replicas of various artifacts found in the historical ruins of her home region.
Unlike her siblings, Solangi, 17, has never been to school. That’s why she opted to join her father, Hajan, in his craft of sculpting replicas, which is the only source of income for her family. She always admired the toys her father made from clay, which looked especially appealing after he applied color to them. When she was 8 years old, she started helping her father, slowly learning his techniques for toy making. She collects clay from the banks of the Indus River and turns it into replicas of things found in the ruins of Moen Jo Daro, as well as toys and other clay ornaments.
Before she joined her father, Solangi said he used to make the same few styles of artifacts, which people grew tired of seeing. She decided to use the technique to make different objects, like parrots, owls, pots, flower vases, and ornaments. Soon enough, her income began to grow. Her innovation proved to be a godsend for her family. “This new idea of mine took our business to the heights, we have never dreamt of,” Solangi said.
Solangi did the work for her own satisfaction until last year when she learned about vocational training from the SUCCESS program run by the Sindh Rural Support Organization that provides women resources to polish their hidden talents. With the approval from her parents, Solangi trained for three months to perfect her craft. Now, she can be considered an expert craftsman, making figures of a dancing girl, a man of Moen Jo Daro, bullock carts, birds, coins, and other types of ornaments that people can purchase and enjoy.
After her training with the Sindh Rural Support Organization, she said she is earning much more than before. Since she is not formally educated, Solangi said she didn’t know how to use online platforms to sell her products. But thanks to the SUCCESS program, she has been able to post her designs on Facebook, which has allowed her to get orders online. After completion, she sends the artifacts to the SRSO office, which sends them to buyers. Solangi said this has increased her income greatly.
Program Origins
SUCCESS was started in Larkana, Qamber-Shahdadkot, Dadu, Jamshoro, Matiari, Sajawal, Tando Allah Yar, and Tando Mohammad Khan districts in 2016. This program is designed based on lessons learned about successful poverty reduction techniques and was piloted by SRSO in two districts Shikarpur and Kashmore.
Naseeba, another beneficiary of the SUCCESS program, said her training had a similar positive effect. One year ago, she took an interest-free loan of Rs. 20,000 from SRSO and bought two sheep, which quickly multiplied to six. She sold the sheep and after repaying the loan spent Rs. 50,000 to develop a fishpond near her house. She is confident that she’ll be able to sell fish in the market to multiply her profits. Before attending the SRSO program, she said women in her village worked in agriculture from dawn until dusk and earned very little.
She says that when the SUCCESS program was launched in 2016, men from her area were reluctant to let women partner with the organization. But over time, she said opinions changed and women from around the area started joining the program. Soon enough, thousands of households were benefitting from the program and using their hidden talents to pull themselves out of poverty. She said women are now involved in every development activity either initiative by the government or SRSO. She said the program has made families self-sufficient.
Another woman, Ruqia, said the SUCCESS program has helped many women like her earn money from crafts they’ve practiced for a long time. Since her childhood, Ruqia watched her mother pour into her embroidery work while earning barely enough to help feed her family. She said the SUCCESS program has helped her earn from her embroidery while showcasing products in big cities like Karachi and Islamabad, which has helped boost their sales.
Ruqia said she never dreamt of going to Karachi or Islamabad to sell her products but now is getting good prices there for her hard work. “Gone are the days when women in our areas were kept confined to the four walls of the houses,” she said. “I am proud to say that today men make all decisions with our consent,” Ruqia said that with the support of SRSO, needy, rural families with uneducated women have been brought to power.
Fighting Poverty with Talent
Solangi and other women have showcased their work in an exhibition organized by the Sindh Rural Support Organization in Larkana. The title of the conference was “Taraqi Ka Safar” (A journey towards development), which aimed to empower women and encourage them to take on leadership roles in their communities. The event was funded by the European Union and implemented jointly by the Sindh government and SRSO.
Jamal Mustafa Shoro the SUCCESS program coordinator said community institutions are formed based on the results of a poverty scorecard. So far, he said the program has surveyed 121,917 impoverished households in both districts, which led to the creation of 3453 community organizations. Additionally, 574 village organizations and 47 local support organizations were formed, he said.
Shoro said SUCCESS is the largest grassroots poverty reduction initiative in Pakistan. He said the program works by identifying poor households and bringing them into the fold of community organizations at the village and local levels. The localized strategy helps reach individual households by helping convince them to participate in the process.
Shoro said this program has helped increase the capacity of community institutions in Larkana, training office workers, community leaders and local support organizations, and bookkeepers. He also said the program has helped establish adult literacy centers to provide basic literacy and number skills to 1,800 female learners.
Moving Forward
Back in Haji Lal Bux Shaikh, Samreen’s father, Hajan, says having her join the family business has been a major blessing. The eldest among her sisters, Samreen was always responsible for the household chores, taking over work from her diabetic mother. Her father did everything he could to make money from the artifacts he sold, but due to inflation, the family was always living hand to mouth.
Samreen’s training has helped the family sell more artifacts online, improving their business dramatically. Besides making artifacts, Samreen has also learned to draw portraits, make applique work, and embroider. Without a boy in her family, Samreen says it is her goal to take on the role of son to eventually pull her family out of poverty.
Hajan is also happy to have his daughter taking over the business as he gets older and weaker and less able to support his family. He said the online business has brought in orders to supplement the local business they used to have. He thanks SRSO for recognizing his daughter’s many talents and helping her bring them into the world.

Read Complete Article  

In southern Pakistan, Marginalized Women Seek Empowerment through Home Ownership.

Under government program, 16,000 women have already received homes in the poorest regions of Sindh province.
Badin| Sindh: Shabnam Pitafi has never lived in a place she could call her own and never dreamt that one day she would, until last month, when she received a brick house under a scheme to empower some of Pakistan’s poorest women.
The 30-year-old farmer comes from Tando Bago area in the Badin district of southern Sindh province, where the local government is helping poor rural women build homes with ownership rights.
The Low-Cost Houses (LHC) program was launched in the districts of Sukkur, Shikarpur, Kashmore and Jacobabad in 2009, and later extended also to Badin, Ghotki, Khairpur, Mirpurkhas, Sanghar, Thatta, Tharparkar and Umerkot.
The government pays each beneficiary Rs 165,000 ($880) for the construction of a two-room brick home. “This lifetime achievement of owning a house brings very special feelings to me and my family,” Pitafi told Arab News. It also changed her status not only among the immediate, but also extended relative. “Since I own a house now, I can influence my husband in decision-making,” she said. “I have planned a party this Eid and invited my parents and relatives.”.
Authorities say the women selected for the housing program all fall under the “poorest of the poor” category. Ninety-five percent of them work on farms, according to the Sindh Rural Support Organization, which implements the project. “For generations, most of these women were living along with their families at landlords’ lands or slums,” said Ghulam Rasool Samejo, the organization’s regional general manager.
To acquire land for construction — which costs around $430 — some of the women have sold their livestock, while some others were lucky to receive small plots from their employers. In Badin, 500 houses under the LCH program were built on land donated by 30 local landlords.
One of them was Ishrat Ali Pitafi, who gave a plot with ownership rights to a family that had worked for him for over a decade. “This landless family has worked as farmers on my agricultural lands for 15 years,” he told Arab News. “I am glad that finally they will get a new house.”
Each of the houses built under the program has two rooms, a toilet, veranda and drainage.
For Pummy Kohli, this means security her family had not known before, as they used to live in a mud house on their landlord’s land in Tando Bego. The hut was regularly washed off by rains during the monsoon season.
“In the past, rains damaged my mud house, forcing me and my family to migrate,” the 35-year-old mother of five said. “Moving to a permanent place will benefit my children. It will ensure the continuity of their education and improve their health.” So far, 16,000 houses have been built out of the 27,000 planned under the program, Pervez Ahmed Chandio, director general at the Sindh People’s Poverty Reduction, Planning and Development Department, told Arab News.
While lifechanging for thousands of families who otherwise might never have afforded this kind of security, it is still a drop in the ocean of needs in Pakistan, a country that lacks 10 million housing units — 60 percent of which are needed for low-income families.
“The government needs to increase the number of such houses. In a country which needs 10 million houses, provision of houses in thousands is not enough,” Dr. Kaiser Bengali, economist and former development adviser to the Sindh chief minister, told Arab News.
But he admitted that the program was already a “revolutionary step” and one that also improved women’s chances of earning, as having their own place they could start small businesses. “This will work for women’s empowerment, as owning a house means a sense of security,” he told Arab News. “Nobody will throw the owner out of her house now.”

Read Complete Article  

The government’s recent SRSO intervention has helped create opportunities for many women in Sindh

Since she was a child, Sabul Khatoon was apprehensive whenever it came to talking to the men of her village of Amb Sharif in Khairpur. Other than her father and brothers, she avoided speaking to any other man. Now 52 years of age, she had little inkling that her livelihood would eventually encompass interacting with men, not just from her own village but beyond as well.
As a teenager, her fear towards other men affected her so much that she would run at the sight of a stranger. Yet another memory of her being a teenager was seeing her mother dwelling with the handloom to prepare clothes, which she used to sell for a small price. “Amma, I see you sitting all day, weaving cloth on the handloom and what you earn is not even enough to get us a single meal,” she used to often say to her mother. And her mother would always reply, “Something is better than nothing, at least I am earning something and helping your father cater to the needs of the family.” “I started to weave clothes at the age of 13 under the supervision of my mother and pretty soon became an expert at weaving,” says Subul, while narrating her story. There were nine members in Subul’s family and her father spent most of his time working hard and trying desperately to feed his family. Through Subul’s help with the weaving work, her mother’s income doubled, which was still not enough but better than before.
Through the course of her life, Subul continued her weaving work with the utmost dedication and then five months ago, she learned about the Sindh Rural Support Organisation (SRCO) advancing loans and offering vocational training to women to help them establish their own business under the ‘Business Development Group’.
“I took my husband in confidence and made a group of five women, who were well-versed with the handloom and ready to join the group,” she informed. Though my husband had allowed me to go ahead with my plans, I was still reluctant to interact with men not belonging to my family. “But my husband convinced me to do what I wanted to. Following his motivation, I contacted SRSO officials,” she said. The officials helped Subul through the loan application process and she finally secured a loan of Rs 200,000 to start her own business.
With the help of the loan, Subul purchased different types of raw material and launched her business. Currently, every woman in Subul’s group of handloomers earns nearly Rs 1,000 a day. “My husband is a laborer and often returns back home without finding any work, but thanks to SRSO we have an established business that has helped pull us out of extreme poverty,”she remarked.
One of her business partners Hameeda - a mother of eleven - was very happy with the business because not only has it helped her earn enough for herself but also enabled her to help her extended family make ends meet. Hameeda’s husband also works as a laborer and hardly earns between Rs1,000 to Rs1,500 a week.
As per SRSO’s loan terms, the lenders are afford some flexibility upon the repayment of the loan where there is a flexibility on the month repayment amount, which is fixed upon the person’s affordability. “We will start paying back [the loan] after completing one year and I am hopeful that by that time our group will be able to pay back a good amount as an installment,” she says.
Gul Bano is one of the most successful business-woman in her community. She began her business hand sewn embroidery business two years ago. Her dedication soon inspired the girls and women in her village, to also learn to sow and embroider. Today, she has provided jobs to 65 women in her village, who are earning a salary substantially higher than their previous source of income. “As a teenager, I started social work in the village and used to help others in their time of need,” she says. Bano was married at the age of 19 afterwards, trained as a midwife – a service she now offers to women in her community free-of-charge. “I am lucky enough to have a very understanding and cooperative husband and our four children are going to school,” she says with a touch of pride.
Nisar Khatoon had undergone appliqué work training through SRSO two years ago, after which she was advanced a loan of Rs 15,000, which she utilised to purchase cloth and other raw materials and started hand emroidering clothes. “Ten women are working with me and all of them are expert at sewing clothes and hand embroidery,” she said. Her husband runs a small grocery shop, which used to be the only source of income for their family for two years, but now she earns much more than her husband.
Yasmeen is an expert at sewing school uniforms, and she too got a loan amounting to Rs15,000 from SRSO. When she received her loan five months ago, she purchased clothes from Sukkur and started sewing school uniforms. Belonging to a remote rural area of Khairpur district, it was not easy for Yasmeen to do business on her own, but with the support of her husband and other family members, she decided to start her own business in order take full advantage of her sewing talent. “After making my mind up, I went to an SRSO local office and discussed the [terms of the] loan for starting a business,” she said. “The officials filled a form andd took my signature and sent it to the head office for approval. After a couple of days, the officials contacted me and told me that my loan was approved and I could collect a cheque from the local office,” she said.
“The cheque of Rs15,000 proved to be a turning-point not only for me, but many other girls and women, who work with me,” she said. According to her, more than a dozen girls and women are working with her and all of them are paid Rs 100 per dress. “Just recently one of the local private schools ordered me to prepare 150 uniforms for girls and we are currently working on this order,” she said. “We need more orders to provide more jobs to the poor girls and women. It takes just two hours to stitch a uniform and if we get a big order, every worker of mine can stitch five uniforms a day.” One of her workers, Rabeil belongs to a very poor family and being the eldest among the siblings, she feels obligated to pull the family out of their existing poverty. This desire to work is also fueled by desperate need as the only male member of the family, her father, is ill and bedridden. Thanking Yasmeen for giving her helping hand, she said that sometimes she gives her three uniforms for stitiching so that she can earn more to help support her family.
A villager Ghulam Yasin, who was watching Sabul Khatoon working at the handloom said, “Believe me these women have totally changed our way of thinking and now men throughout these villages feel proud of their women, who are shouldering the responsibility of the household through their small scale business. Earlier, we never allowed our women to go out and do some work because we used to think about what other villagers will think of us but now the situation has changed completely as women are standing shoulder to shoulder with the men and earning enough to help support their respective families,” he said. “We know that our women are safe with SRSO and therefore all the men want their wives or sisters or daughters to work with SRSO to secure the future of the family.” he said.
For his part, Dittal Kalhoro, the Chief Executive Officer at SRSO, giving a brief report about SRSO, informs that With major funding by the Sindh government, SRSO is working in 15 district of Sindh including, Sukkur, Ghotki, Khairpur, Larkana, Shikarpur, Kandhkot-Kashmore, Jacobabad, Qamber-Shahdadkot, Sanghar and others. According to SRSO CEO Dittal Kalhoro, since its establishment in 2003, SRSO has organised around 1,322,000 households throughout these districts and moving forward with the aim to empower womenfolk. The organisation created community organisations, village organizations and finally, union council organisations. “There are around 80,000 community organisations, 6,000 village organisations and 600 union council organisations throughout these 15 districts,” he said adding, “most of the funding comes from the Sindh government, while some funding comes from the Federal Government and the European Union.”
“So far we have advanced interest free loans to around 200,000 women, while we are planning to advance loans to a further 200,000 women in the next two years through our Low-Cost Housing Project,” he said. “So far, we have constructed 25,000 low-cost houses in various districts, besides imparting one-month-long vocational trainings to 60,000 women. This is not all we are doing for the uplift of the backward rural areas, but we also impart vocational training to the daughters and sons of the community according to their interest,” he said.
“Our teams survey various areas to identify the poorest of the poor, who are provided a one-time non-refundable grant of Rs50,000 to enable them to begin some small scale business,” he said. “If such families need interest-free loans, that too are advanced to them because our purpose is to reduce poverty and make people self-sufficient.”
“We are advancing interest free loans to the women from Rs 200,000 to Rs500,000 under our Business Development Group programme. Apart from this, we also provide funding of between Rs 500,000 to Rs 20,00,000 to better the infrastructure of certain villages on the recommendations of the community organisations or village organisations because people living in certain areas know far better about the needs of their community.”

Read Complete Article  

عمرکوٹ کی کستوری کولھی جس کی محنت گھر میں خوشحالی کا باعث بنی

صوبہ سندھ کی کستوری کولھی کی کہانی

کیا آپ نے نیٹ فلکس کی ڈرامہ سیریز ’میڈ ‘ دیکھی ہے؟ جس میں ایک شادی شدہ مگر کم تعلیم یافتہ خاتون گھریلو مشکلات سے تنگ آ کر خود کفیل ہونا چاہتی ہے۔ گھریلو اور معاشرتی دشواریوں کے باوجود وہ خود کو معاشرے میں منوانے میں کامیاب ہو جاتی ہے۔
صوبہ سندھ کی کستوری کولھی کی کہانی بھی ’میڈ‘ کی مرکزی کردار سے کچھ حد تک ملتی جلتی ہے۔
کستوری کا تعلق ضلع عمرکوٹ تحصیل سامارو کے گاؤں لالو کولھی سے ہے۔ چند سال قبل تک وہ گاؤں کی بہت سی دیگر اُن عام خواتین کی طرح تھیں جن کے صبح و شام کھیتوں میں کام کرتے اور بچے سنبھالنے میں گزرتے۔ مگر دو سال قبل اس کی زندگی میں بدلاؤ آ گیا۔
کستوری بتاتی ہیں کہ جب ان کی شادی ہوئی تو ان کے شوہر پریم چند چنگچی رکشہ چلاتے تھے۔ سواری مل جاتی تو گھر میں گزر اوقات کے پیسے آ جاتے وگرنہ مشکل بن جاتی۔ پھر کستوری کے شوہر کی صحت خراب ہو گئی اور ڈاکٹروں نے بتایا کہ اُن کے گردے میں پتھری ہے اور ان کو آرام کا مشورے دیا جس کے بعد گھریلو حالات اور بھی خراب ہو گئے۔
کستوری بتاتی ہیں کہ ’غربت تو پہلے ہی گھر میں تھی لیکن اب کبھی کھانا ملتا تو کبھی فاقہ۔ میں نے سوچا کے میرے بھوکے بچوں کو کون کھلائے گا؟ کیوں نہ اپنے گھر والے کی تھوڑی مدد کر لوں، پڑھی لکھی نہیں تھی، مگر سوچا ماتا رانی نے جو ہمیں دو ہاتھ پاؤں دیے ہیں اس ہی سے کچھ کر کے دکھائیں۔‘
سندھ رول سپورٹ آرگنائزیشن دیہی سندھ میں کئی شعبوں میں تربیت فراہم کر رہی ہے، کستوری نے وہاں کپڑوں کی سلائی کی ایک ماہ کی تربیت حاصل کی جس کے بعد گھر گھر جا کر سلائی کے لیے کپڑوں کے آرڈر لینا شروع کر دیے۔
بقول کستوری کے جب ان کے بیمار شوہر پہلی مرتبہ موصول ہونے والے آرڈرز سلے سلائے کپڑوں کی صورت میں گاہکوں کو واپس کرنے گئے تو بیشتر خواتین کو کستوری کی سلائی پسند آ گئی اور واپسی پر انھوں نے مزید جوڑے سلنے کے لیے دے دیے۔ وہ کہتی ہیں کہ ’اور یوں مشین چلانے کے ساتھ ہماری زندگی کا رُکا ہوا پہیہ بھی چل پڑا اور ہماری آمدن میں بھی اضافہ ہونے لگا۔‘
کستوری پریم چند نے اپنے گھر کے ایک کمرے میں ایک دکان بھی قائم کر رکھی ہے جہاں بغیر سلائی والے کپڑوں کے ساتھ مختلف اقسام کی لیس، گوٹے اور بٹن وغیرہ موجود ہیں جبکہ چار سے پانچ خواتین صبح سے شام تک اس دکان میں سلائی کرتی ہیں۔ کستوری کا کہنا ہے کہ جب زیادہ کپڑے آنے لگے تو انھوں نے سوچا کہ کیوں نہ گھر میں اپنی دکان کھولیں، مگر اس کے لیے سرمائے کی ضرورت تھی۔ لہذا انھوں نے دوبارہ سندھ دیہی ترقی کے شعبے سے رابطہ کیا کیونکہ وہ ضرورت مند افراد کو قرضے کی سہولت فراہم کرتے تھے۔
سندھ رورل سپورٹ پروگرام سے کستوری نے دو لاکھ 90 ہزار قرضہ لیا جس سے سلائی مشینیں خریدیں اور پڑوس کی خواتین اور ایک بیوہ خاتون کو سلائی کی تربیت دی اور یوں ان کا اپنا سلائی سینٹر قائم ہو گیا۔
میرپور خاص ڈویژن کے اضلاع عمرکوٹ، تھر، سانگھڑ اور میرپورخاص میں ہندو براردری بڑی تعداد میں رہتی ہے، جو اپنا روایتی گھاگھرا چولی لباس پہنتی ہے۔ کستوری کا کہنا ہے کہ وہ ہندو رواج کے کپڑے گھاگھرا اور چولی بناتی ہیں۔ ان کے پاس ساون کے دنوں کے کپڑے بنتے ہیں جو لڑکیاں پہنتی ہیں، اس کے علاوہ دلہنوں کو جہیز میں جو کپڑے دیئے جاتے ہیں وہ انھیں بھی تیار کرتی ہیں جبکہ ان دنوں دیوالی کے تہوار کے دن ہیں اس کی مناسبت سے فیشن والے کپڑے بناتے ہیں۔
ان کے تیار کیے ہوئے کپڑے ان کے شوہر موٹر سائیکل پر تھر، میرپور خاص اور عمرکوٹ تک فروخت کرنے جاتا ہے، جو گھروں کے علاوہ دکانوں پر بھی فروخت ہوتے ہیں، کستوری کے مطابق پندرہ سو روپے سے لے کر پانچ ہزار روپے تک کی قیمت میں وہ یہ لباس بناتی ہیں جس سے وہ مہینے میں چالیس سے پچاس ہزار روپے آسانی سے کما لیتی ہیں۔ جبکہ ان کے پاس جو خواتین کام کر رہی ہیں ان کی بھی تین سے چار سو روپے روز کی آمدن ہو جاتی ہے جس سے وہ بھی بچے پال رہی ہیں۔
سامارو کے قریب واقع گاوں لالو کولھی کی آبادی ڈھائی سو گھروں پر مشتمل ہے اس گاؤں کے لوگ آج کستوری کی مثال دیتے ہیں لیکن اس سے قبل ایسا نہیں تھا۔ کستوری بتاتی ہیں کہ جب ابتدائی دنوں میں سلائی سیکھنے جاتی تھی تو گاؤں والے کہتے تھے ’پتہ نہیں کہاں جاتی ہے صبح صبح لپ سٹک لگا کر؟ شوہر بھی تنگ آ کر کہتا کہ آخر تم کب سیکھو گی؟‘
وہ کہتی ہیں کہ ’مجھے یقین تھا کہ میں سیکھ لوں گی، اب تو گاؤں والے کہہ رہے ہیں یہ ہماری بہو تھی جس نے ہمیں یہ کر کے دکھایا، اس نے اچھا کام کیا مضبوطی دکھائی، جو کام مرد باہر کرتے ہیں وہ عورت نے کر کے دکھایا۔‘
عمرکوٹ ضلع گذشتہ بارشوں سے شدید متاثر ہوا جس میں سامارو تحصیل بھی شامل ہیں جہاں زرعی زمین کا ایک بڑا رقبہ زیر آب آ گیا جس کی وجہ سے کاشت کاروں کے ساتھ کسانوں کو بھی نقصان پہنچا، اس سال بھی بارشوں کے باعث یہاں سبزیاں متاثر ہوئی ہیں لیکن اس صورتحال سے کستوری کا خاندان بے پرواہ ہے۔ لالو کولھی گاؤں کے دیگر گھروں میں خواتین لکڑیاں جلا کر کھانا بناتی ہیں لیکن کستوری کے گھر میں گیس سلینڈر ہے۔ ان کا گھر صاف ستھرا ہے۔ انھوں نے قسطوں پر موٹر سائیکل بھی خرید لی جس پر ان کے شوہر کپڑے فروخت کرنے جاتے ہیں اور انھیں خریداری کے لیے بازار لے جاتے ہیں جبکہ ان کے تینوں بچے پرائیوٹ سکول میں زیر تعلیم ہیں۔
وہ کہتی ہیں کہ پہلے تو بچوں کی سکول فیس کیا، پاؤں میں پہننے والی چپل بھی نہیں ہوتی تھی لیکن اب وہ خوش ہیں۔ کستوری کا کہنا ہے کہ اگر ان کے شوہر کی طبیعت خراب نہ ہوتی تو ان کو کبھی اپنی قابلیت کی قدر نہیں ہوتی۔ ’میں نے ٹھان لیا تھا کہ میں کچھ نہ کچھ کر کے دکھاؤں گی اور میں نے وہ کر دکھایا۔‘

Read Complete Story  

Ms. Ajeeba is Nasirabad’s wise village woman, a role model for others who want to move ahead and make a path towards success

Not a long ago, Sindhi newspapers’ frequently carried news items mentioning atrocities against women. The usual captions were: ‘rape’ ‘murder’, ‘kidnap’, ‘minor girl’s marriage’ and ‘Vani’, a compensation for murder committed by their male family members. The situation still prevails, but a new breed of women’s leadership, handy use of new communication technologies, and some successful initiatives have inculcated the hope. Although, it is too bleak, even today, newspapers’ stories reveal that still girls’ schools are closed, a considerable number of women die due to pregnancy complications and feudal system has left literally zero opportunities for women to test their business ideas. Interestingly, none has objected on the status quo, all of us accepted it as usual practice in the name of tradition and culture. We are so mum that even we forget women’s role in agriculture, livestock, managing house affairs and family building.
One day I asked myself, ‘How the union council based interventions, commonly, known the SUCCESS program, have played the role in women’s betterment?’ Lot of ideas came into my mind to gauge the change. I thought that I could get idea from the annual reports, quarterly reports, case studies, newsletters and visitors’ feedbacks. Such a thought made me laugh, how naïve I was, when the primary source was not far away, and I thought about the secondary source. I discarded the idea of reading documents. Now I was considering how to proceed. I prepared notes, and chose a relatively difficult area, Union Council Warah, Taluka Nasirababd, District Kamber-Shahdadkot. Now usage of the methodology was the next step. After some consideration, I decided to apply an open-ended interview technique to capture the story. I met with Ms. Ajeeba Nisar of Warah. The conversation with Ms. Ajeeba compelled me to mingle the open-ended interview technique and autobiographical approach.
a gathering of Nasirabads active women - Sindh-CourierHere I share excerpts from her conservation. It took place at village Mumtazabad, Warah. Ms. Ajeeba Nisar is 40 years old and mother of three children. She told that her parents admitted her in the boys’ primary school, but later she was not allowed to be admitted into boys’ elementary school. Confidently, she told that her parents might have thought I was adult enough to be educated with boys. Therefore, she couldn’t continue her education. Now she has different views regarding girls’ education. She thinks that co-education is an ideal arrangement, where children learn a lot about commonalties and differences of both sexes, and expose themselves that how some assumptions about women have roots in ‘gender’ rather than ‘sex’. Smilingly, she told that women of nearby village know her as a role model.
On my enquiry, she unpacked further her personal story. Her husband plied donkey-cart in Nasirabad city. He earned some amount, but it was too meager to purchase meals of a day.
She told, “One day, I was pumped into the social organizer of the Sindh Rural Support Organization. I learned about the program, and became a member of the organization. In this way, I got the loan and purchased the goat. After some earning, I paid it, and got another loan. Presently, I keep a small herd, and occasionally sell some goats to meet my family needs.”
She always keeps herd’s numerical strength beneficial. Ajeeba told me that she learned the essential business trick: ‘first be good borrower – return the loan in agreed time. Then, think about new business; it must be initiated with the saved amount, and if it is short, apply for bridge loan and start a new business’. She told that her husband’s new Rickshaw might be an example of that business approach. Elaborating further she said that the donkey – cart, and a few goats were sold, and loan from the community fund enabled them to purchase the Rickshaw.
“The Rickshaw has done wonders in my family life,” Ajeeba shared her success. According to her, it loads the paddy crop, supplies drinking water and also serves as a passenger-vehicle. It picks and drops students (girls and boys) of ZABTech, Nasirabad and also carries fodder for goats.
“Such multi-type business has enabled us to purchase buffalo. Now milk is regular part of our diet, and excessive is sold. In this way, our health as well as hygiene conditions are improved,” she told.
The autumn day was passing quickly, shadows were becoming larger. So, I told her that soon I would leave. In a hurry she said, “It’s true that I am primary pass, but my daughter has got admission in the intermediate.” She concluded with gleamed eyes that ‘her daughter skillfully operates the computer’.
I closed my notebook. But a sudden thought sparked in my mind. Again, I opened it and jotted down some questions: ‘Ajeeba is one of the humble heroines of Sindh. Who would write the stories of these humble heroines? Or we are conditioned to published ‘miracle’ and ‘big events’?’ Not sure, but I strongly believe that rural women in their life-threat context have dented tribal society in so many ways. Believe me their small steps have made ways for others to follow.

Read Complete Story  

As an anthropologist and a development professional, I gain energy from witnessing the success and prosperity of the underprivileged in rural Pakistan. While I was on field visit to rural Sindh, I came across a woman who for over 12 years dreamt of giving birth to a child who would have a life of more than two days unlike her previous children.
In addition to macro-level health insurance, we require micro-level health insurance available to remote/rural populations of Pakistan. One such initiative to uplift the health and happiness index among rural women of Pakistan is taken up by the European Union’s Sindh Union Council Community Economic Strengthening Support (SUCCESS) programme in Sindh. SUCCESS is succeeding with quality support to the destitute for stabilising their economic development covering all aspects holistically.
Aneela, a 30-year-old woman of Piyaro Magsi, district Larkana Sindh, who was struggling to keep her children alive after delivery shared her story. She had eight childbirths, but none survived more than two days. It was the biggest wish of her life to have healthy children who would not die in front of her eyes just after birth. She was giving birth every time with the hope that this child would survive but there was nothing that could save them.
Her doctor told her that she had some complications and the only way to keep her children alive was a caesarian section. Aneela could not afford the hefty amount for C-section. Arranging a sum of Rs30,000 seemed impossible to her.
Aggrieved and destitute, Aneela found a glimmer of hope when she talked to a member of the Community Organisation (CO) formed by the Sindh Rural Support Organisation (SRSO) under SUCCESS. The CO leaders served as a bridge-builder between Aneela and the Rural Support Programmes (RSPs) thus reaching for Micro Health Insurance (MIH) component of SUCCESS programme. This programme extended financial assistance to Aneela and several other women who were fighting their fortune for health and happiness. She received her health insurance card through the CO and this time used it for a C-section when she was expecting a baby in December 2020. “I am extremely happy now, I feel like flying in the air. I used to cry and lament before, but now I feel as if it’s Eid… I got a healthy baby who has survived’’, says Aneela.
The study found several case studies like Aneela’s, who were struggling with their vulnerability and fate on roads to healthy motherhood and childbirth. Tormented and eager for assistance, they found a gateway to hope without staking their dignity. SUCCESS focuses on economic strengthening of rural women and making them financially independent hence to keep their pride up and not continue to be liabilities on others.
A total of 137,130 poor families with around one million people are insured and 21,729 patients are treated with Rs313 million under SUCCESS-MHI component, in which 353 cases (18 percent) were claimed in the domain of obstetrics/ gynecology as of 2018. The beneficiaries of the programme said that there had been health camps, vaccinations, reproductive health sessions, Covid-9 awareness and precautionary measures sessions in the village from time to time.
Although these programme districts of a province cannot be a representation of the entire country, these small initiatives will colour the horizon once we stand united for the bigger cause. Partnership between the government and civil society is indispensable for the future of the people of the country. More effective public health policies and initiatives like SUCCESS, Sehat cards etc are required to combat the plight of healthcare of the poor and marginalised communities. The public healthcare sector needs serious upgradation in service delivery and facilitation to the lower classes. Aneela sacrificed her eight babies because she had no money to pay for a C-section. There are hundreds of heart-wrenching stories of many Aneelas who have foregone their children at the hands of poverty and the cruelty of our medical system.
The government and the civil society, in collaboration with all stakeholders, must make public health insurance a prime priority without disparity (in ethnicity, caste, creed, class, strata or gender). Planning, development and implementation of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and plausible healthcare policies concerning the health of rural populations is yet to be completely delivered in Pakistan.

Read Complete Atticle  

Are there any solutions available to improve access to housing in rural areas?

Are there any solutions available to improve access to housing in rural areas, which present additional issues of reaching out to the most deserving? Last month, this writer had the chance to visit a village in Khairpur district in Sindh and found that low-cost rural housing is, after all, not an unrealisable dream.
The Sindh government’s Peoples Poverty Reduction Programme (PPRP) has as one of its components a low-cost housing scheme. The main objective of this component is to provide a reliable minimum living solution to the beneficiaries with dignity and pride of self-ownership. Its defining feature is the participation of women as representing the household and the collectivity of the community. Women form community organisations that initiate the housing proposals.
The beneficiary households include those whose house has been destroyed, damaged or is unfit for living, besides those living under open sky. A poverty scorecard of 0-23, valid CNIC, ownership of a plot and/ or a government plot are required. Construction has to follow the prototype design and specification.
Once the community has identified schemes, these are surveyed in collaboration and consultation with the individual community organisations (COs) and village organisations (VOs). Next comes the approval of the scheme, followed by the signing of the terms of partnership in CO/VO meeting, where responsibilities of CO/VO/beneficiary and Sindh Rural Support Organisation (SRSO) are spelled out.
The beneficiary implements the scheme within the time specified in the terms of partnership. Technical guidance is provided by the SRSO, whose engineer and community monitor the scheme together. In construction, the design and structure of the low-cost houses, cottages (churas) and additional facilities have to follow the prototypes cleared by Arif Hasan.
The total cost of the house is Rs 165, 000, including allied facilities of up to Rs 10,000, with three options: drinking water hand pump, latrines or a solar system. The disbursement involves four instalments: the first is an advance of Rs 50,000, the second of the same amount at the plinth level with cement and sand and the third instalment of Rs 50,000 comes at the roof level.
The fourth instalment of Rs 15,000 comes at the finishing stage. Then onwards, the beneficiary must complete plastering – the inner side and outer side of rooms, installation of doors and windows. Finally, she has to provide a completion certificate.
These two-room low-cost houses now have a visible presence across villages. In Khairpur, the district this writer visited, the target is to build 2,310 houses. Out of these, 1,503 units have been initiated and 568 completed. All this with a disbursement of just Rs 122.33 million.
In the remote, less developed district of Umerkot, 95 percent of the units have been initiated and as many as 73 percent completed. The overall target of PPRP is 9,623 units, 74.4 percent of which has been initiated and 41.1 percent completed. Allied facilities number 2,684. A total of Rs 641.44 million had been disbursed by July this year. The happy faces one witnessed reflected a much greater outcome, though.
But these happy faces are confined to only six districts. In addition to Khairpur and Umerkot, the programme covers Mirpurkhas, Thatta, Badin and Sanghar. Recently, Sukkur and Ghotki have been added, with a target of 10,000 houses at a cost of Rs 1.25 billion.
Still, there are 21 more districts. A provincial government cannot do it all by itself. Naya Pakistan housing programme will remain incomplete without including rural housing. The cost effective Sindh model, with communities organised by the SRSO, can be replicated easily in other provinces, as communities organised by the rural support programmes in these provinces are waiting to be partners.

Read Complete Story  

Success story of Ms. Hakim Zadi, a village woman, who has setup a stall of Sindhi Foods at Moen Jo Daro

None could disagree that Sindh is rich in its tourist sites. Its locations offer a diverse range of choices for tourists. This part Pakistan is abode of an oldest civilization of the world. The value addition is its scenic beauty – vast deserts, unique Karoonjhar Mountain in the desert, Khirthar Mountain’s robust presence, lakes’ tranquility, and natural vegetation with tempting fragrance.
Among all these is the Moen-Jo-Daro in Larkana district, the archaeological site that symbolizes the Great Indus Civilization, the destination of many foreign tourists and the researchers who use to visit here to witness the wonders of 5000 years old civilization.
In view of the frequent visits of foreign tourists and researchers, Sindh Rural Support Organization worked on certain ideas to create economic opportunities for the rural women of the area.
A lot of ideas were listed, and a considerable number was tested. However, the idea took sound footage, when the European Union’s initiative – Sindh Union Council and Community Economic Strengthening Support Program (SUCCESS) came in. It opened new vistas for rural women. An idea of triangulation surfaced – income, tourism and food services. The idea took fertile ground on an earlier experience of Ms. Hakim Zadi. She lives is in the village near Moen-Jo-Daro and River Indus. She was gradually moving forward, and before the project’s launch she lived with the below poverty line, nearly sustained living. However, in 2015 the SUCCESS interventions were enacted in Sindh’s northern districts. She welcomed it as an opportunity to liberate her family from abject poverty. She followed the social mobilization processes– became a member of the community organization, saved accordingly and qualified her for the loans and financial support.
Presently, her village organization is also a member of the local support organization. Hakim Zadi regularly attended SRO’s entrepreneurship and managerial trainings. One day, she got an idea that how she could build on her cooking skills. She discussed the idea with her family members – all believed in her skills and trusted her. Now question was of start-up finance. She through her organizational layers contacted the local support organization, and even the SRO’s particular team. She got the required amount and technical assistance. Now next step was the location, where she should install her stall.
She was of the view that the project has imbued a new energy into her life. Laughingly, she added that she used to underestimate her skills and scope of food services. Therefore, she decided to cook only Biryani and sell it around the city. But training and exposure enhanced her horizon. Soon, she explored the other sites. On my enquiry she told that since childhood, she has noticed that traditional foods were not available at Moen-Jo-Daro site. Therefore, most of the tourists either bring their own foods or purchase unhealthy and unhygienic foods from local vendors.
“After getting required funds I decided to open food stall named Sindhi Khadha (Sindhi Foods) at Moen-Jo- Daro. I added value to my food service by offering cooked item in traditional pots with a full decoration. Quickly, my stall got a attention,” Hakim Zadi told.
However, amidst the right path towards success, the COVID-19 landed and she was compelled to halt the services. But, she immediately switched to online ordering and opened his Facebook and WhatsApp accounts. One day, I asked her what change she has noticed in his persona. She in a non-stop way told, “First I used to think rural people have only two options – plough the landlords’ lands or labor in government’s construction projects or build wealthy men’s houses. But now new world has opened before my eyes.”
She believes in her strength. Organizational association has empowered her a lot, and everywhere she sees business opportunities – cattle rearing, clay wearing, organic foods, traditional sticking and micro-forest. She added that apart from financial benefits, she has also earned respect, and fellow-women seek her advice as a successful entrepreneur.
Now, ‘Sindhi Khadha’ has become their family business and trade mark. I asked her why she calls it ‘Sindhi Khadha’? An instant response came – ideally the brand name should be Moen-Jo-Daro Foods, but she feels it as disrespect to Moen-Jo-Daro, Sindh’s only global identity. Noticing her jubilant mood, I enquired from her, “Are you assured that people of Moen-Jo-Daro must be eating the same items, she is serving the tourists?” She became silent for a while, and suddenly blushed – I am not sure, but believe, our forefathers must be eating wheat and rice chapatti and their curries surely included various pulses and beh (lotus roots). Hakim Zadi’s instant and innocent response made me laugh, she also giggled.
The friendly environment encouraged her, she proudly said her village Balhreji is a member of Moen-Jo-Daro Local Support Organization, and shyly added sometimes she thinks it one of the custodians of Moen-Jo-Daro traditions. Suddenly, one our team members reminded me a schedule of the day. Therefore, we ended a lively conversation with Hakim Zadi. On the way back, I thought – there are lot opportunities to replicate Hakim Zadi’s idea. It could be all around Sindh – Gorakh Hill Station (Dadu), Makli (Thatta), Miani Forest (Hyderabad), Sukkur Barrage’s Library (Sukkur) Sadh Belo (Sukkur), and Bhambore (Thatta). Later on, these women-managed-food-serving outlets could form a Sindh based group, and exchange their guests and recipes. My thought was interrupted, when the driver slowed the vehicle before the office’s gate – but I was still in grip of conversation. So, in a monologue I whispered – ‘we are custodian of Sindh’s traditions, and we must move forward’.

Read Complete Story  

موئن جو دڑو کی ثمرین سولنگی، جو مٹی کو بھی ’سونا‘ بنا دیتی ہیں

ثمرین سولنگی جب پیدا ہوئیں تو ان کی دادی نے کہا ’یہ سونے کی انگلیوں والی لڑکی ہے۔‘ اور جب ثمرین نے مٹی میں اپنے ہاتھ ڈالے تو واقعی اس کو سونا بنا دیا۔

ثمرین سولنگی موئن جو دڑو کے قریب واقع گاؤں حاجی لال بخش شیخ میں رہتی ہیں۔ وہ چکنی مٹی سے زیورات اور موئن جو دڑو سے برآمد ہونے والی مورتیاں اور مہروں کے انداز میں اشیا بناتی ہیں۔
بیس سالہ ثمرین سولنگی کے چچا اور والد بھی موئن جو دڑو سے برآمد ہونے والے راہب، رقاصہ، مہریں اور ہاتھی وغیرہ کے طرز پر فنپارے بناتے تھے۔ انھوں نے یہ کام اپنے والد سے سیکھا تھا جو محکمہ آثار قدیمہ میں ایک چھوٹے سے ملازم تھے۔
ثمرین بتاتی ہیں کہ انھیں بچپن سے ہی مٹی سے چیزیں بنانے کا شوق تھا لہذا وہ سکول نہیں گئیں اور یہ ہی کام شروع کیا، اب وہ سب کچھ بنا لیتی ہیں۔
حاجی لال بخش شیخ گاؤں دریائے سندھ کے قریب واقع ہے جہاں سے یہ چکنی مٹی لاتے ہیں۔ مٹی کو پہلے سکھایا جاتا ہے، اس کے بعد کوٹ کر باریک کیا جاتا ہے۔ باریک مٹی کو معدہ کہتے ہیں۔ ثمرین کے مطابق معدہ نکالنے کے بعد باقی مٹی میں پانی ڈال کر اس کو گوندا جاتا ہے جبکہ معدہ اس میں مکس ہوتا ہے ان کے پاس راہب یا کنگ پریسٹ کا سانچہ موجود ہے جبکہ باقی اشیا ہاتھ سے بنائی جاتی ہیں، جنھیں بنا کر سوکھنے کے لیے رکھا جاتا ہے۔ گرمیوں میں یہ ایک سے ڈیڑھ دن جبکہ سردیوں میں دو سے تین روز میں سوکھتے ہیں۔
مٹی سے زیوارت بنانے اور پہننے کا رواج تو موئن جو دڑو سے لے کر صدیوں پرانا تھا، حال ہی میں اس فیشن نے ایک بار پھر انگڑائی لی ہے۔ انڈیا سمیت متعدد ممالک میں اب انھیں بنایا جارہا ہے۔ ثمرین سولنگی بتاتی ہیں کہ غیرسرکاری ادارے سندھ رول سپورٹ آرگنائزیشن نے انہیں جوئیلری بنانے کی تربیت فراہم کی۔ تین روزہ تربیت میں ان کے ساتھ دس کے قریب لڑکیاں تھیں اور ان میں سے ثمرین نے اس خیال کو مٹی کی طرح اپنا ذہن میں پکا لیا ہے۔
اب وہ مٹی سے جھمکے، بالیاں اور دیگر زیورات بنا لیتی ہیں۔ انھیں بنانے کے لیے ان کے پاس کوئی خصوصی آلات نہیں ایک ٹوٹی ہوئی چھری، بال پوائنٹ کا کیس اور ایک باکس ہے جس سے گولائی وغیرہ کرلیتی ہیں یہ سارے کمالات کسی سٹوڈیو یا کارخانے میں نہیں کچے گھر اور صحن میں ہوتے ہیں۔ ’پہلے میں جھمکے کے گھنگھرو اور اوپر والی چکی بناتی ہوں۔ اس کے بعد نچلی کپی بنا کر اس کو پین سے ڈیزائن بناتی ہوں ان دونوں حصوں کو جوڑ کر سوکھنے کے لیے چھوڑ دیتی ہوں اس کے بعد گوبر کے اپلے ڈال کر اس کو پکاتی ہوں صبح کو یہ تیار ہو جاتے ہیں۔ ان مٹی کے زیورات پر ہر طرح کے رنگ کیے جاتے ہیں لیکن خاص طور پر جھمکیوں پر چاندی اور سونے کا رنگ زیادہ مقبول ہیں۔ ثمرین کے مطابق پہلے سنہری رنگ لگانے کے بعد اس پر سرخ اور سبز رنگ بھرا جاتا ہے جس سے یہ دلکش نظر آنے لگتا ہے۔
ثمرین سولنگی کے گھر کا دال دلیا موئن جو دڑو آنے والے سیاحوں سے وابستہ تھا جو کورونا کی وجہ سے متاثر ہوا ہے۔ وہ بتاتی ہیں کہ گرمیوں میں سیاح کم آتے تھے اور سردیوں میں زیادہ لیکن کورونا کی وجہ سے سیاحوں نے یہاں کا رخ کرنا چھوڑ دیا ہے جس کی وجہ سے ان کے بنائی ہوئی مورتیاں اور مہریں وغیرہ فروخت نہیں ہوتی تھیں۔ سکھر کی طالبہ اقصیٰ شورو نے ثمرین سولنگی کی مدد کی اور انہیں سوشل میڈیا سے متعارف کرایا، جس سے ان کے اس ہنر نے پذیرائی حاصل کی اور انہیں مٹی کے زیورات کے آرڈر آرہے ہیں۔
ثمرین سولنگی کے والد کا ہنر ان کی نسل کی بھی وارث ہے۔ وہ بتاتی ہیں کہ وہ چھ بہنیں ہیں لیکن بھائی نہیں۔ ’بھائی کی کمی ہوتی ہے بھائی تو بھائی ہوتا ہے، ہم ایسا سمجھتے ہیں کہ ہم بابا کے لیے بیٹے ہیں اور ہم بیٹوں والا ہی کام کرتے ہیں بابا کو کبھی بیٹے کی کمی ہونے نہیں دی، بیٹا تو بیٹا ہوتا ہے اگر بیٹیوں کو بھی اس نظر سے دیکھا جائے تو بیٹیاں بھی بیٹے ہی ہوتے ہیں۔
ثمرین کے والد کی طبعیت ٹھیک نہیں رہتی وہ کام کاج نہیں کرتے بلکہ بیٹیوں کا اس ہنر میں ہاتھ بٹاتے ہیں ثمرین اور ان کی بہنیں ان کی خیال رکھتی ہیں۔ وہ صبح سویر اٹھتی ہیں اور مٹی سے مورتیاں، مہریں تو کبھی زیورات بنا شروع کردیتی ہیں ایک جھمکا بنانے میں ایک گھنٹہ لگتا ہے رنگ وروغن سمیت فی جھمکے کی قیمت تین سو رپے ہے۔ ‘جو آمدن ہوتی ہے اس سے صرف گذارہ ہوتا ہے کیونکہ راشن کے علاوہ رنگ و دیگر سامان کے علاوہ پیکنگ بھی خرید کرنی ہوتی ہے۔‘
جب میں نے ثمرین سے معلوم کیا کہ ان کا خواب یا خواہش کیا ہے؟ تو انھوں نے حسب عادت مسکراتے ہوئے کہا کہ میری تو کوئی خواہش نہیں میں نے پوچھا کہ کچھ تو ہوگا تو وہ ایک بار مسکرائی اور کہا کہ میں گھر والوں اور بنہوں کو خوش دیکھنا چاہتی ہوں۔

Read Complete Story  

Advertisement published in The Jang Newspaper.


Peoples' Poverty Reduction Program (PPRP) an Initiative of Govt. Of Sindh being implemented by SRSO in 8 districts of Sindh. Advertisement published in The Jang Newspaper.

فریدہ مہر، لاڑکانہ کی ریشم گلی کی پہلی خاتون دکاندار: ’اگر یہ ریشم گلی میں بیٹھے گی تو ہماری عزت کو نیلام کر دے گی‘

’مجھ پر ہتھیار اٹھائے گئے اور یہ کہا گیا کہ اگر یہ ریشم گلی میں بیٹھے گی تو ہماری عزت کو نیلام کر دے گی، لیکن میں ان سب باتوں کو پیچھے چھوڑ کر آگے بڑھی۔‘

یہ ہیں فریدہ مہر جو لاڑکانہ کی ریشم گلی کی پہلی خاتون دکاندار ہیں۔ انھوں نے سنہ 2019 میں شہر کے اُس معروف بازار میں دکان کھولی جہاں تقریباً ایک ہزار کے قریب کپڑوں، برتنوں، چوڑیوں اور کاسمیٹکس کی دکانیں ہیں۔
اگرچہ ریشم گلی میں خواتین گاہکوں کی ریل پیل رہتی ہیں مگر فریدہ سے قبل اس بازار کے سارے دکاندار مرد ہی تھے۔ فریدہ مہر اپنی دکان پر کڑھائی اور ایپلک والے سوٹ، کرتے اور ہینڈی کرافٹس فروخت کرتی ہیں۔
فریدہ مہر کا تعلق ضلع لاڑکانہ کی تحصیل رتوڈیرو کے گاؤں ٹھل جونیجا سے ہے۔ وہ بتاتی ہیں کہ ان کے خاندان میں رائج روایت کے مطابق گھر کی خواتین کبھی کسی غیر مرد کے سامنے نہیں آتی تھی لیکن پھر حالات نے انھیں یہ قدم اٹھانے پر مجبور کیا گھر میں پھیلی غربت کے باعث نوبت فاقہ کشی تک آ گئی تھی۔
وہ کہتی ہیں کہ ایسی صورتحال میں کسی کو تو باہر نکلنا تھا اور بہن بھائیوں میں بڑا ہونے کے ناطے انھیں ہی نکلنا پڑا۔ فریدہ کی تین بڑی بہنیں شادی شدہ ہیں اور غیر شادی شدہ بہن بھائیوں میں سب سے بڑی ہیں۔
ابتدا میں فریدہ نے غیرسرکاری تنظیم سندھ رورل سپورٹ آرگنائزیشن میں رضاکارانہ کام کیا پھر وہیں ملازمت اختیار کر لی۔ وہ بتاتی ہیں کہ گاؤں اور برداری والوں نے اُن کی ملازمت پر اعتراضات اٹھائے جس کی وجہ سے انھیں گاؤں سے نکل جانا پڑا اور انھوں نے لاڑکانہ شہر میں کرائے پر مکان لیا جہاں وہ اکیلے رہنے لگیں۔ فریدہ کہتی ہیں کہ ’حالات سے تنگ آ کر میں نے کوئی منفی اقدام کرنے کی بجائے میں نے خود پر بھروسہ کیا۔ صبح کو والد آتے تھے راشن یا ضروری اشیا لا کر دے دیتے اور شام کو واپس چلے جاتے تھے۔ ان کے جانے کے بعد میں دروازہ لاک کر کے اکیلے سو جاتی تھی۔ سونے سے قبل رات کے دو تین بجے تک میں آرڈر کے کاموں (کڑھائی اور ایپلک ) کو مکمل کرتی تھی۔‘
فریدہ مہر غیر سرکاری تنظیم میں کام کرتی رہیں اور جلد ہی وہ ماسٹر ٹرینر بن گئیں۔ دلچسپ بات یہ ہے کہ انھیں نے باقاعدہ تعلیم حاصل نہیں کر رکھی اور انھیں بنیادی تعلیم اسی تنظیم کی جانب سے فراہم کی گئی۔ وہ بتاتی ہیں کہ ایک سال کے بعد انھوں نے دیکھا کہ گاؤں والوں کی سوچ تبدیلی ہو رہی ہے۔ ’انھیں احساس ہوا کہ کچھ غلط نہیں اور میں صرف اپنے والد کی سپورٹ کر رہی ہوں اور اپنے گھر اور خاندان کی غربت ختم کرنے کی کوشش کر رہی ہوں۔ اس تبدیلی کے بعد میں واپس گاؤں آ گئی۔‘ کچھ عرصے بعد فریدہ کو مارکیٹ میں دکان کھولنے کا خیال آیا۔
’ان دنوں اس بات پر بھی غور و فکر ہوا کہ جو خواتین گھروں میں کام کرتی ہیں انھیں ایک تو اپنے کام کے اچھا دام نہیں ملتے، دوسرا مڈل مین اس میں شامل ہوتے ہیں اور تیسرا یہ خواتین طلب کی بنیاد پر کام نہیں کرتی ہیں۔ اس صورتحال میں اگر کوئی اپنی دکان کھولے تو اس کو اور کئی سو دیگر خاندانوں کو فائدہ ہو گا۔ میں نے سوچا کیوں نہ میں یہ کروں، یوں میں نے دکان کھولنے کا فیصلہ کر لیا۔‘
لاڑکانہ اور آس پاس کے علاقے کی خواتین اور بچوں کے ملبوسات اور اشیا کی بات کی جائے تو ریشم گلی مرکزی بازار ہے۔ فریدہ نے بھی اسی علاقے میں دکان کھولنے کا فیصلہ کیا۔ وہ بتاتی ہیں کہ سب کہہ رہے تھے کہ آپ کو مشکل سے شاپ ملے گی کیونکہ وہاں مرد دکاندار ہیں، اگر کوئی خاتون آ جاتی ہے تو بڑا مسئلہ ہو جائے گا، لیکن انھوں نے اور ان کے والد نے یہ ٹھان لی کہ ایک مہینہ لگے یا دو مہینے دکان تو انھوں نے کھولنی ہی ہے۔ ’ہم روزانہ صبح کو گاؤں سے نکلتے اور شام کو واپس جاتے، ہمارا یومیہ پانچ سو روپے کرایہ لگ جاتا تھا۔ اس طرح ہمیں پچیس دن لگ گئے، بالاخر ایک دکان کی دستیابی کے بارے میں سُنا تو ہم مالک کے پاس پہنچ گئے۔ مالک نے کہا کہ عجیب لگتا ہے کہ ایک عورت آ کر دکان پر بیٹھے گی لوگ کیا کہیں گے؟ کیاآپ کے رشتہ دار اجازت دیں گے؟ میں نے اس کو سمجھایا اور کہا کہ یہ خواتین کی بھی فلاح کا کام ہے جس کے بعد وہ راضی ہو گیا۔‘ فریدہ بتاتی ہیں کہ دکان میں کچھ کام ہونا باقی تھا، انھوں نے ماربل کا فرش وغیرہ خود کھڑے ہوکر لگوایا تاکہ کوئی بہانہ نہ ہو اور دکان جلدی تیار ہو جائے۔
فریدہ نے سنہ 2019 میں یہ دکان کھولی تو ابتدائی تین ماہ گاہکوں کے انتظار میں گزر گئے اور کرایہ بھی جیب سے ادا کرنا پڑا۔ چوتھے مہینے ریسپانس آنا شروع ہوا کہ ایک خاتون نے دکان کھولی ہے۔
فریدہ مہر کے مطابق زیادہ تر خواتین یہاں سے گزرتی تھیں اور کہتی تھیں کہ یہ عورت نے دکان کھولی ہے، کچھ تو حیران ہو کر پوچھتی تھیں کہ آپ کا کیا مسئلہ تھا؟ کیا مجبوری تھی کہ آپ نے یہ قدم اٹھایا ہے، میں انھیں بتاتی تھی کہ میرے پیچھے کئی سو خواتین ہیں یہ ان سب کے روزگار کا بہتر وسیلہ بنے گا۔ فریدہ کے مطابق خواتین سے آرڈر ملنے لگے اور جو خواتین پہلے اپنے اشیا بنا کر گھروں میں رکھتی تھیں انھیں مزید کام ملنے لگا۔ ’جو عورت ایک شرٹ اور رلی بنا کر بیٹھ جاتی تھی اس کو مسلسل کام کی میسر ہوا۔‘
فریدہ کے ساتھ ان کے والد دکان پر موجود رہتے ہیں۔ فارغ وقت میں فریدہ دکان میں ہی ایپلک کا کام کرتی رہتی ہیں جبکہ والد گاہکوں کو خوش آمدید کہتے ہیں۔ فریدہ بتاتی ہیں کہ دکان ابھی کچھ کچھ چلنا ہی شروع ہوئی تھی کہ ایک بار پھر برادری، گاؤں والوں نے اعتراضات اٹھانا شروع کردیے، نتیجے میں اُن کے بھائی ان سے خفا ہوگئے۔ فریدہ کے مطابق وہ کہنے لگے کہ ایس آر ایس او میں ملازمت تو ٹھیک ہے مگر اب یہ ریشم گلی میں بیٹھ کر ہماری عزت نیلام کرے گی۔ ’بڑی بہن ناراض تھیں، والدہ بات نہیں کرتی تھیں۔ بھائی ناراض تھے لڑ جھگڑ رہے تھے۔ بھائی چھوٹے ہیں لیکن بڑا بننے کی کوشش کرتے ہیں۔ والد نے کہا کہ تم فکر نہ کرو میں تمہارے ساتھ کھڑا ہوں اگر والد ساتھ نہ دیتے تو میں کب کی ٹوٹ چکی ہوئی ہوتی۔‘
فریدہ مہر لاڑکانہ اور شہداکوٹ سمیت دیگر علاقوں کی دیہاتوں میں جا کر خواتین سے ان کی اشیا لے کر آتیں اور انھیں اپنی دکان پر فروخت کرتی ہیں۔ ان کی دکان کو ابھی ایک سال بھی نہیں ہوا تھا کہ کورونا وائرس پھیل گیا اور حکومت نے مارچ 2020 میں لاک ڈاؤن نافذ کر دیا۔ وہ بتاتی ہیں کہ ان کے پاس خواتین کے بنائی ہوئے ڈریسز سمیت کئی چیزیں جمع ہوگئیں وہ پریشان تھیں کہ انھیں اب کس طرح فروخت کیا جائے۔ ’میں نے واٹس ایپ پر رابطے کیے، خریدار ڈیزائن بھیج دیتے تھے، میں دکان پر آتی شٹر اوپر کر کے سامان نکالتی تھی، پولیس اور لوگوں سے بچ کر آتی تھی کیونکہ بہت خطرہ تھا، پولیس کبھی کبھار روک بھی لیتی تھی، اس لاک ڈاؤن کی وجہ سے مجھے بھی نقصان ہوا اور جو خواتین کام کر رہی ہیں انھیں بھی۔‘
لاک ڈاؤن ختم ہوا اور دکانیں کھلیں تو فریدہ نے پھر محنت اور لگن سے دکان دوبارہ چلائی لیکن عید اور شادیوں کی سیزن سے قبل دوبارہ لاک ڈاؤن نافذ ہو گیا۔ ’میں نےسوچا تھا کہ گھر والوں کے لیے بھی سب کچھ درست ٹھیک ہو جائے گا کیونکہ میں گھر کے حالات بہتر بنانے کی کوشش کر رہی تھی۔ لیکن مسئلہ حل ہونے کے بجائے اس لاک ڈاؤن نے میری شخصیت کو ہی ہلا کر رکھ دیا ہے۔ لوگ بری بری اور عجیب باتیں کر رہے ہیں، بھائی غصہ کرتے ہیں، اس وقت ذہنی اذیت کا شکار ہوں حالانکہ میں نے سب کا بھلا چاہا تھا مجھے کیا پتہ تھا کہ جو کچھ گھر میں سکون ملتا تھا وہ بھی چلا جائے گا۔‘ فریدہ کے چار بھائیوں میں سے ایک معذور ہے جبکہ والد کوئی کام نہیں کرتے بلکہ اُن کے ساتھ ہوتے ہیں۔
لاک ڈاؤن کی وجہ سے فریدہ مہر مقروض ہو چکی ہیں۔ ان کا کہنا ہے کہ 20 ہزار ماہانہ کرایہ ہے جبکہ چار ہزار سے ساڑھے چار ہزار کے قریب بجلی کا بل آتا ہے اور جن خواتین کا سامان موجود ہے انھیں پیس دینے ہیں، ان کی پوری کوشش ہے کہ یہ دکان بند نہ ہو کیونکہ یہ ان کی زندگی ہے۔

Read Complete Story