SKILL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM GRADUATES – Chuk Phutuk Enterprises – Sustainable stitching
For three months, during cold snowy winter, a group of young women from Gilgit Baltistan would meet daily to learn sewing and stitching techniques under the guidance of a professional seamstress. Most of them had no previous experience of making clothes, as one of them said: “I didn’t even know how to hold scissors properly”, but with patience and dedication they gradually learnt the methods, developed the skills and gained conﬁdence.
It was during those skill development sessions organized by Alight Pakistan and Allama Iqbal Open University (AIOU) that the women started planning their future. During their skill development sessions and counselling interaction with Alight and AIOU team, the team decided to make the best use of their gained skills. They placed their heads together and came up with the idea of starting a cooperative sewing and stitching business. After all, there were not enough quality fashion sewing outlets in Gilgit town.
The women motivated each other and soon after graduating from the skill development program they started working on their business plan. They selected a committee from the literate agreed members among themselves to lead the process, chose the name and by the end of March 2021 the “Chuk Photuk” Enterprises was established.
“Chuk Photuk” means “sewing and stitching” in local Shina language. And besides stitching modern clothes and school uniforms that are largely in demand, the young entrepreneurs want to revive indigenous traditions of handicraft. The local handiwork used to be famous among locals and tourists visiting Gilgit. Unfortunately, the skill is gradually dying and these days it is extremely hard to ﬁnd local art and craft pieces at the market in Gilgit. Chuk Photuk Enterprises will seek the help of local experts who still remember how to make traditional woolen pattu shawls, sweaters, socks and carpets, as well as bridal dresses, and in future include those products in their offer.
The women’s start-up received support from the local government and some private sector organizations along with Alight Pakistan and AIOU, who offered different kinds of supports including but limited to letting them use a building in Asif Market Khomer Gilgit, provision of some additional machinery, connecting them with market, helping them advertise their enterprise etc. The budding businesswomen from Gilgit are optimistic about the future of their business that already yearned income and empowered and motivated them to become self-suﬃcient. The ﬁrst orders have been placed and the ﬁrst money earned. We wish our graduates prosperity and growth in business. Good luck!