Sartiyoon Sikhyaa Center is being run with the help of some philanthropists and community members.
Women have no social safety net in rural areas as well as in suburban areas of Sindh where they are bound by practices that affect their welfare. Women live under poverty and for them earning money through skills is a real bonus in life – Farzana Airy
Sindh Courier Feature
‘Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much’ – this saying has been proved true very recently by a small group of persons – three females and two males, who launched a project on their own to impart adult education and skill training to the women of low-income groups of the society in ‘Khuda Ji Basti’ locality of Kotri town of Jamshoro district of Sindh province.
The group has established a training center – Sartiyoon Sikhyaa Center (SSC) in a rented building in Kotri. The idea of setting up such a center was conceived much earlier but it could only be materialized in January this year (2022) when they were able to move ahead with office setup. In February, the group hired some staff and kicked off training classes from March, when they observed World Day of Women by distributing clothes among women and around 500 books among children at a school in Khuda Ji Basti. On behalf of the Center, ration bags during the Holy month of Ramadan Eid gifts were also distributed.
“It was really a challenging job for all of us to establish a center without the help of government or any other donor agency, but we were determined to accept the challenge,” says Ms. Farzana Airy, the Executive Director of SSC, who had spent over a decade working for some government and non- government organizations in the rural areas like Kandhkot, Dadu and Thaparkar, in very difficult situations where a woman, especially a mother like her, cannot even imagine to work leaving the kids at home.
“Doing a job was my necessity to earn livelihood, but it offered me opportunity to observe the pathetic condition of rural women, who were illiterate and had no skill and guidance how to bring about change in their lives,” the Kotri-based social activist told.
“We are living in 21st century but unfortunately the womenfolk are not treated well,” she said citing the examples of social status of rural women, closed schools, ghost schools dropouts of girls.
“I live in Kotri, an industrial city, but even in our surrounding areas, a large number of women are faced with issues similar to those far flung rural areas,” she said.
“We decided to take initiative for under-privileged women of Khuda ji Basti locality of Kotri,” Farzana told adding “For breaking the barriers the women face, we don’t have abundant resources but we have a vision and the courage to move forward.”
Sartiyoon Sikhyaa Centre provides free skills development training to empower women and to enhance their skills for self-employment and free education to ladies above 16 years of age. The women getting free education and skills trainings at SSC are mostly widows, divorced and belonging to the families of low-income groups.
“SSC is working to build the capacity of women through skill development to establish their own businesses and play desired role in their family and society,” Farzana said.
Sana Ali, SSC Management Committee member, who was also present, told, “Through Vocational Training and primary adult education we are developing valuable skills which are direly needed by the womenfolk.”
“Women’s economic empowerment is fundamental to strengthen women to fight for rights and to enable them to have control over their lives and exert influence in society,” said Rafay Rehman, another member of SSC Management Committee.
“Women no longer have to lower their head and wait for the man to tell them what to do – now we have to make our own decisions and share responsibilities with our parents and partners,” said Razia Khaskheli, a trainee student at SSC.
“Our self-less efforts are showing results and women are contacting us,” Naina Ali, also the member of Management Committee, said and told, “A pregnant woman (not to be named), whose husband is a daily wager, has 3 kids, came to the Centre with an unfulfilled desire to study and she began writing for the first time in her life. This is our big achievement.”
Sartiyoon Sikhyaa Centre’s training Program teaches underprivileged women the trade of Tailoring, Hand and Machine Embroidery, Beautician Courses.
“Women have no social safety net in rural areas as well as in suburban areas of Sindh where they are bound by practices that affect their welfare. Women live under poverty and for them earning money through skills is a real bonus in life,” Farzana explained.
“We still live in a society where being a woman is dangerous. Let’s remind ourselves that we have to create a world which the women around us deserve.”
According to Ms. Farzana Airy, a 6-month tailoring course (March to August) is currently underway having enrollment of 15 female while ten women are enrolled in adult education class, where they are being taught basics of reading, writing and calculation. Moreover, seven girls are learning embroidery work.
“Work on setting up a parlor has also been initiated for launching formal training of beauticians with capacity of ten females at a time,” Farzana said.
“We don’t have any support from any of the government organizations. We offer all these courses free of charge and do not charge even a single rupee. On the contrary, the material required for training is also provided free of cost along with bags to carry the books and other material. And for all that some philanthropists, community members and friends have extended great help. And yes, we – the Management Committee members too use to contribute from our own pocket,” she told introducing the group members and their responsibilities that includes Khalid Kori (Managing Director), Miss Sana Ali (HR/Finance Officer), Rafay Rahman (Coordination/Logistics).
The staff consists of four Instructors – one each for Tailoring, Embroidery, Adult Education and the Beautician Course.
“The process of getting the Center registered with STEVTA and STBE is underway so that the women after having completed the training may seek any employment on the basis of the duly recognized training certificates,” Farzana Airy concluded.