Homebound: Despite their absence, rural women impress through work

A variety of colourful embroidered works including aari, ahir, chikankari and chunri were displayed in the exhibition.

Work of women artisans shows their capability to work beyond the boundaries of imagination. PHOTO: MUHAMMAD JAVAID/EXPRESS


Nothing can curtain natural talent and skill, and the work of homebound women of Pakistan is a testament to that.

The work of indigenous women artisans went on display at an exhibition titled, ‘Stitching and Chai’ here on Saturday promoting the richness and splendour embedded in the heritage of the four provinces of Pakistan.

The exhibition was organised by USAID’s Entrepreneurs Project at the Centre for Arts, Culture and Dialogue, Kuch Khaas as a part of its project to implement cluster-based Value Chain approach through local organisations, private sector, government agencies and other relevant actors for capacity building.

A variety of colourful embroidered works including aari, ahir, chikankari and chunri beautifully done on kurtas, duppattas, scarves, tops, shawls, quilts, cushions, lamp shades, bags and wall hangings reflected the hard work of the women whose absence from the event deprived them of a chance to bag appreciation from the visitors.

Through more than 15 female sales agents (FSAs) could be seen busy handling the work of some 450 embellishers from Punjab, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh and Balochistan.

Marketing coordinator at THAAP in Bhawalpur, Nuzhat Yasmeen said such exhibitions provide our rural women — who usually do not know the value of their work — with a rare opportunity for self-appreciation.

“Generally, these artisans work day-and-night but fail to get their reward both in terms of money and acknowledgement,” she said while emphasising on the need for sustainable earning franchises for the women.

Meanwhile, Sanadia Iftikhar , an FSA from Karachi informed that she handled the material and designs that were handed to women artisans from Ghagar Phatak — a rural area 45 km outside Karachi — who are paid back according to their work.

The USAID-funded Entrepreneurs Project’s chief of party Susan Slomback, told The Express Tribune that the initiative was a good way for women who otherwise face many a barriers to showcase their capabilities.

“Rural Pakistani women need to understand their worth, value and capabilities if they are to be empowered,” she said.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 15th, 2013.


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