Sewing Centers in Pakistan Supporting Christian Women and Their Families
It’s often that we are taught money is the root of all evil. We hear this phrase and understand it to mean that if we covet material wealth, we’re falling for one of Satan’s oldest tricks. And while there is a line to be drawn when it comes to greed, we also have to acknowledge the blessing that financial opportunity can offer.
In Pakistan, the Christian minority suffers persecution, isolation, and deprivation as an outcasted sect of their society. Entrenched in this already difficult scenario are the women of these communities who, perhaps above all others, face the deepest forms of oppression. Often targeted for sex trafficking, forced prostitution, and involuntary marriage, any opportunity is hard to come by.
Mission ONE partners, through the local church in Pakistan, understood and engaged with this need, which led to the development of three local sewing centers.
Through these installations, women are able to earn a living and help care for their families in ways they couldn’t have imagined.
Rukhsana has lived with her grandparents since she was four years old. Rukhsana always wanted to study, but her father was against her seeking an education. She wanted to learn because she thought she could use it to help support her grandparents.
She heard about the sewing centers and sought out the opportunity to learn how to develop a new skill set.
She is now taking orders and able to charge 300pkr (Pakistani rupees) for each suit and makes 15 to 20 suits per month. She is able to meet her needs with this money and support her grandparents.
Sarafin was able to attend school for two years but was forced to leave when she could no longer pay the fees for school. Her father is a farmer and Sarafin and her mother help him with some of the responsibilities.
She has three brothers and three sisters.
Through Mission ONE partners, Sarafin was about to participate in the sewing center. She is now able to take orders and sell dresses to help support her parents, earning a dignified income, and contributing to the flourishing of her family.
Rafia is married and has four children, two sons, and two daughters. Her husband is a day laborer. Work opportunities are unstable and leave their family with an unpredictable income.
When Rafia got a job in the sewing center, she was able to start helping her husband with their family income. She can now pay fees for her children’s schooling.
In addition to the hands-on skills these women are learning to help support their family, they are also able to build community and share their experiences in the welcoming arms of the church. Money management, business basics, and technical stitching skills give each of the women working in the sewing center the chance to take ownership of their lives in a way never before thought possible. Often considered only as commodities for marriage, the women face taunts, and precious time spent away from their families to pursue a new path.
Sewing and earning an income is about so much more than financial prosperity. It’s a rewriting of stories for a new generation of women who are seeking the chance to demonstrate their value beyond the traditional roles established for them. The strength and confidence that they gain through this work offers a massive evolution that can help change the culture for women throughout Pakistan.