FARKHANDA

I became very ill and there
was a lot of stress. I
thought what am I going to
do? There was no food in the
house- we had nothing

My name is Farkhanda, I live in Bahawalpur. I was stuck at a crossroads in life. With the society mounting immense pressure, economic problems kept increasing. This was ever apparent in my low-income household; while my husband earned bare minimum to keep us going, the number of children to feed and clothe kept going up and hence, problems kept piling. I fought almost daily out of frustration, most of which were over money or food.Then I became very ill and there was a lot of stress. I thought what am I going to do? There was no food in the house – we had nothing. When it rained we stayed up all night and the children slept. We were worried that the walls or roof might fall down. Water came in on the ground and we tried to take it out with our hands.

And I wondered what should I do to help out my husband. He worked hard but did not earn enough to meet our needs. Then I approached my neighbor and started doing embroidery work for her. She would pay me for my work. My neighbor then advised me to start my own business, to buy cloth and embroider it — she would then sell my embroidery work in Lahore for me. I then started making my own outfits. I also hired other female artisans to make garments do embroidery for me. Ever since I have come in association with Kaarvan Crafts Foundation alhamdulillah (thank God) I have been able to sell my clothes myself. During the skill development trainings, I got familiarization of the market which further enhanced my entrepreneurial spirit.

From that point on, there was no looking back. From no property or even a house that I could call my own to become this person with a stable income, a well-fed family, school going children and a permanent house. Currently, I manage my own business which has more than 200 female artisans. I earn PKR 26,000 per month. I believe I can achieve what I dream. I never got the opportunity to receive formal education but I can assure myself today that I can give my child all those opportunities that every child deserved. I am proud that I have set an example for my family, my society, and even the people around me see — someone who refused to give up and turn her hopes into reality.