How beekeeping pulled a woman from the edge

Published: September 26, 2011
SHARES
Email
Bakhta was on the verge of giving up when the Sarhad Rural Support Programme, under the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), reached out to her. PHOTO: EXPRESS

Bakhta was on the verge of giving up when the Sarhad Rural Support Programme, under the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), reached out to her. PHOTO: EXPRESS

SWAT: Shahi Bakhta has single-handedly steered her life and those of her children out from the depths of poverty and managed to economically stabilise her family.

Bakhta, 38, lives with her five children in Nehrabad village in Swat’s Kabal town. She was widowed in May 2009 at the peak of the Swat insurgency when her husband, Mohammad Rashid, was hit by a stray bullet in crossfire between the security forces and militants.

In that one moment, Bakhta’s life changed and she was left to provide for her three sons and two daughters alone. “I have seen some tough and very bitter days in life. My children would ask for bread and I had nothing to offer to them. Sorely disappointed, I made many suicide attempts. But my children’s innocent faces stopped me.”

Rashid worked as a labourer but also operated a business on the side, where he bred honeybees. After his death, desperate for financial assistance, Bakhta decided to take over the business.

“I had to sell all the equipment of honeybee keeping to arrange for money for my children. I also sold poultry and other things one by one for survival,” she told The Express Tribune, adding that she would do odd jobs from dawn till dusk but not earn enough money to make ends meet.

Almost disillusioned with life, Bakhta was on the verge of giving up when the Sarhad Rural Support Programme, under the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), reached out to her.

“I got detailed training of honeybee keeping for productive and sustainable use of it and learnt basic tools and techniques of honeybee keeping with proper nourishment of boxes,” she said. She was also paid Rs33,000 to start her own business.

The UNDP, with support from the Japanese government, has implemented a Peace and Development Programme in conflict-hit areas, such as Swat, in which cash grants are given to entrepreneurs for small businesses.

With this training, Bakhta now runs her business with scientific methods. “I have better knowledge of how to extract honey from the bees and my business seems to be improving day by day,” she says, happily. “My children’s future will now be bright.”

Published in The Express Tribune, September 26th,  2011.

Facebook Conversations

Reader Comments (8)

  • Choas A.D
    Sep 26, 2011 - 1:32PM

    some little glitter of hope in a bleak land.

    Recommend

  • Jaan
    Sep 26, 2011 - 4:49PM

    great job. large number of people have become orphaned, widowed. Now there is intense need of rehabilitating them in such activities

    Recommend

  • Amjad
    Sep 26, 2011 - 6:30PM

    @Choas A.D: In fact it goes to show that anything is possible in this beautiful land of ours if only our people apply themselves with diligence and dedication. I am proud of this woman who hopefully will serve as an example for others.

    Recommend

  • Saleem Afridi
    Sep 26, 2011 - 10:42PM

    Great efforts but the govt is sleeping help these kinds of people and their children making them good citizen on priority basis.

    Recommend

  • Nasir
    Sep 27, 2011 - 9:23AM

    Brave woman

    Recommend

  • ARF
    Sep 27, 2011 - 9:45AM

    good going and good luck

    Recommend

  • zain
    Sep 27, 2011 - 11:54AM

    everylady of the our country is brave and courageous if they are supported and encouraged a bit

    Recommend

  • Rahim
    Sep 30, 2011 - 1:50PM

    Should this not be applied by other NGOs?

    Recommend

More in KP & FATA