|Shirina, a miraath woman, meaning that she has no social status because she has no sons|
SRI’s Economic Development Programs for Women
The United Nations Development Program states that equality and empowerment for women starts with economic independence. Loss of life due to the Taliban conflict and massive floods in Swat have created thousands of widows in the Swat Valley, who have no means of support.
For this reason, SRI started a Vocational Training Centers (VTCs) for women to teach them skills that will help them become independent and earn a living with dignity. For details on our VTCs go to our Projects page. For photos of the VTCs go to our Photo Gallery.
The picture above, is of Shirina with her four daughters. Shirina’s husband died in a bomb attack by the Taliban. At the time she was expecting her fourth and youngest daughter. Having daughters and no male child put her in a social category called miraath, which is one of the worst curses in Pashto. Being miraath for Shirina meant that her husband’s property was inherited by his brothers and she was at their mercy. When we met Shirina, she was destitute, a non-entity with no status in a male-dominated society, all because she was unlucky to have daughters in a culture that only values male children.
Women like Shirina can now join SRI’s Vocational Training Center, where they learn marketable skills, and are given toolkits and sewing machines so that they can start a business to provide for their families. At the VTC, women also get moral support, and can join a women’s group where they can identify their problems and solve them with others in the same situation.
Activities that we have started in Economic Development are:
- Vocational Training Centers for women
- Training for women in traditional Swati embroidery, dress-making, and knitting
- Helping women develop better market exposure for products they make, cutting out the middleman so they can get a larger share of the profit
- Opening adult literacy centers for women between the ages of 15 and 45
|VTC Embroidery Class||VTC Sewing Class|