A Tale of Determination – Haleema- Kharmang Valley, Gilgit Baltistan, Pakistan

A Tale of Determination – HaleemaMs. Haleema belongs to a low income family of a remote village in Kharmang Valley, which is one of the five main valleys of Gilgit Baltistan region. She lost her mother when she was young and was married at the age of 16. Unfortunately, within few months of her marriage, she got divorce from her husband. Of late, she moved from Kharmang and started living with her elder sister in Skardu.

As a grown up woman, she always dreamed of becoming financially independent through learning and improving a skill-set but somehow she could not get any opportunity to become successful in her life.

Meanwhile, she came to know that Alight Pakistan, in collaboration with Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), has launched youth and adolescent skills development program under its Gaamzan Project in Gilgit, Hunza and Skardu districts. These programs were introduced in the wake of market survey and were relevant to the context considering emerging opportunities, particularly with regard to China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) initiative in the areas.

Haleema discussed with her sister and decided to enroll herself in the first batch (45 males, 45 females) of youths and adolescents in masonry& stitching courses for three months.

During the training course, she learnt all the basic concepts and mandatory skills to master the art of stitching. Now she has graduated and is desirous of replicating her skills by opening a stitching centre in Skardu. But the lack of financial resources is the stumbling block to fulfill her cherished dreams.

She was recognized as one of the most active and hardworking trainees enrolled in the stitching course. As to learn all complicated cutting and sewing skills in a short period of three months is really tough but her dedication and hard work made it possible.

“I am very thankful to Alight and its partners for establishing training centre for women. But, in the same vein, Alight and its partners must link the trainees to get financial help for the establishment of their own businesses,” Ms. Haleema says.

She further said that there are a lot of philanthropic and microloans offering organizations in the country and Alight must connect the trainees with the (organizations) as majority of them cannot afford to buy the equipment and gadgets to set up their own businesses.

“Being a single woman and that too being dependent upon someone else is very difficult in our society. I have got the skill-set and can become an independent entrepreneur with a little bit of the financial support,” Ms. Haleema says, adding that majority of the training course colleagues wanted to set up their own businesses but were faced with financial crunch.