MINORITIES WOMEN’S EMPOWERMENT
Pakistan Hindu Seva is committed to the upliftment and empowerment of Pakistani women belonging to religious minorities, who face society with a double disadvantage in this respect. We are focused on women from marginalized communities among religious minorities, in particular from the Kolhi, Bheel, and Meghwar communities which make up the bulk of Sindh’s so-called “scheduled castes”.
Initial fact-finding has led PHS to identify two major concerns in rural Sindh in this regard. First, there is a lack of economic independence among the women of these communities, due to which they can neither educate their children nor better their lot in any other way they see fit. Secondly, although traditionally Sindhi women have been at the forefront of their communities, we find that this lack of economic independence keeps women from participating their community as leaders. In a male-dominated society like Pakistan, it is crucial that more and more women are able to stand as equals of men in the government even at a local level. At the same time we want to encourage women from religious minorities to come forward so that there is more visible diversity at all levels of society. It is not only through financial means but by placing women in leadership roles for their community where they can truly effect change, that there can be a real progress in the lives of Sindhi women.
PHS’ strategy is to educate rural women and help them learn a particular skill or craft, through which they can gain some financial independence. We aim to set up Enterprise Support Units in target villages, where women can learn how to tailor traditional sewing-intensive crafts such as making traditional quilts, pillows and hats for urban markets. Most poor rural women in Sindh work alongside the men as agricultural labourers; learning these skills will provide them a way to earn a steady supplemental income from traditional arts.
Following from this, the second step to PHS’ strategy is to inculcate a sense of leadership in the women of our target communities. We aim to provide workshops on public speaking, leadership and governance tailored specifically to rural women, to encourage them to participate in local government, starting from the union council level, so that they become capable, confident leaders for their own communities. By focusing on the leadership potential of women, PHS seeks to empower whole communities on an equitable basis.
PHS welcomes donations specifically for this purpose so that a fund can be made operational. We are registered as a Welfare Trust in Pakistan and our bank information for donation purposes is below.