Skill Development Centers

Establishment of Skill Development Centers (SDC) is an exceptional initiative of gender neutral businesses such as woodworks, food preservation, computer Centers and football making in strong patriarchal and feudal culture. The uniqueness of these two SDCs is that in these centers women have been challenging the traditions and rituals shaped by a patriarchal society to bring renewed life to the women of Pakistan.

   Taangh Handicraft Center

Sillanwali is a sub-district famous for its woodwork (Handicrafts). There are almost 1000 handicrafts factories in Sillanwali which are run by males. TWO established the first Skill Development Centre (SDC) in Sillanwali which is run by females. Through this initiative, the women have not only become aware of gender discrimination but also have been are learning the craft of woodworking. Within a period of five years, 160 women learned skills, got jobs or initiated their own small businesses. Furthermore, some of the former trainees of the Handicraft Center are now working as employees of SDC. Shama a former trainee of the center is now one of the best designer of the Sillanwali and the owners of the different handicrafts factories prefer to make the samples from her.

Asma Hayat, the in charge of SDC, sells their wares to markets and shopkeepers in surrounding cities, and facilitates them in getting economic independency. Asma also organizes lesson plans and gender orientation sessions to help trainees to get involved with the fight against violence against women. Asma is the first woman selected as a member of the Handi Crafts Association of Sillanwali.

Kaitlin Barker documented the story of Asma's efforts entitled THE SUN RISES IN THE WEST.

"It took time, and it didn't happen overnight, but eventually Asma and her woodworking factory were not such a phenomenon. She was still a ray of sunlight, bringing renewed life to the women of her village, but she was no longer the sun that rose in the west. The sun went back to rising in the east, setting in the west. Asma's revised storyline became a familiar and accepted reality." (Kaitlin Barker)

   Taangh Football Center

Another skills development center established by TWO in sub district Bhalwal is the Taangh Football Center to hone the skills of women and provide the support each woman needs to grow. The women of the area contacted TWO through VACs, and after a number of consultation meetings TWO sent two women to Sialkot for learning about football making. After completion of their training, TWO established SDC and recruited these women as instructors. Today there are more then Three hundred women have been benefiting from this SDC.

Nargis Aftab, the incharge of SDC along with the members of the SDC management committee travel to Sialkot to purchase raw materials. The products prepared by women such as footballs, volleyballs, and hardballs can easily be sold in Sargodha because of the high demand of these products. The SDC management committee has also been working on expansion of the center and marketing these products to large markets.

Nargis Aftab was awarded with "Best achievement Award" by Express News for her tireless services for gender equality and gender equity.

   Taangh Spices Centre

TWO established the spices centre under the technical guidance of Dr. Sarfraz Ahmad (Director Food & Sciences Technology University of Sargodha). It is a small, hand-operated spice centre run by grassroots women.The center is successfully producing and distributing a wide range of spices. Dr. Sarfraz Ahmad also gave women a training of food preservation and pickle making. Some of the trainees took the initiative to sell pickled products.

Anum- incharge of spices center organizes awareness raising activities with trainees about women rights. After sharing an awareness raisingon "access and control over resources" women took some initiatives. They bought their own money boxes and started saving their money, thus taking a small step for women's empowerment.

   Computer Centers

  • Computer Center in Kalabagh: Kalabagh is located in Mianwali District which is one of the most backward areas of Punjab where women have very restricted mobility and gender biased practices such as VANI are common. TWO took an initiative of teaching gender neutral skills and established a computer center that would increase mobility as well as skills and knowledge of the women of that area. Since the computer instructor is a woman, it is easier to introduce computer skills to the women of this mostly backward district. Dozens of girls from surrounding villages have been enrolled in the program.
  • Computer Center in Khushab: A Computer Center was established in Khushab. The female instructor in this center has made it possible for communities to send their girls to learn computer skills.
  • Computer Centers in Sargodha: Two more computer centers were established in Sargodha to enhance the skills of rural and minority women of the area.
       Upcoming Events
    • Skill Enhancement Training Workshop in Khushab

    • Orientation Meeting with Peace Youth Group in Khushab

    • Follow Up Activity with Students in Sargodha