THE CITIZENS FOUNDATION, PAKISTAN

Empowering underprivileged women through vocational training and job placement.

Pakistan has the sixth largest population in the world, two-thirds of which is under the age of 25. Pakistan also has the second highest number of out-of-school children in the world and nearly half of the population cannot read or write. This is especially true for women, with severe consequences on their access to the labour market: while the male labour participation rate is 82%, only 22% of women are active in the workforce. In addition to their low level of education;restricted mobility and cultural barriers prevent women from easily finding a job.

The Citizens Foundation (TCF) has created a unique programme that offers training for disadvantaged women with the ultimate goal of helping them earn a living to become more autonomous and support their household incomes. TCF is the largest private sector provider of formal education to the less-privileged and also the largest private sector employer of women in Pakistan. It has already developed community projects to provide training to Pakistani women and has tailored them to women’s needs and local culture: all TCF’s projects take place within local communities, a solution that prevents women from having to travel long distances or stay away from home, while enabling them to benefit from TCF’s vocational courses.

Now, in partnership with the Trafigura Foundation, TCF aims to provide certified tailoring training to 1,440 women. Beyond tailoring skills, TCF will also offer financial literacy training – empowering women to take control of their finances.

Once women successfully complete the training programme, TCF gives graduates the opportunity to earn an income as “apprentices”. TCF is launching an innovative and streamlined business model which will enable it to offer income-generation opportunities to tailoring graduates while securing the in-house production of its school uniforms and also tapping into fashion-oriented customer segments to secure further clientele for its apprentices. Working in partnerships with mid-sized textile entrepreneurs to secure the work orders, TCF will help to ensure a regular stream of income for the women. More enterprising graduates in TCF’s urban locations will also be encouraged to start their own businesses, taking stitching orders from the community.

Shazia Arshad is one of the project’s beneficiaries trained in TCF’s Jauharabad campus in Khushab alongside her sisters. She is grateful her father encouraged them to become independent despite cultural pressure on women to stay home. “It helped our family’s income,” she says. “My mother always said we should be skilled in stitching, that it would help us should bad times arise.”

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Key Figures

139

women trained in 2018

82

graduates newly engaged as apprentices in 2018

139 women trained in 2018
82 graduates newly engaged as apprentices in 2018

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