Life Will Smile Again (Ms. Balqeesa Case Study )

Initial interview & research was carried out by Miss. Ambreen (SO) SDF on 13th November 2014.

Balqeesa w/o Naqeebullah is residing in Pakistan as Afghan Refugee since his family migrated in Pakistan since 1989 . Balqeesa and her family living below poverty line compromising of 07 family member’s small mud house at Barari Afghan Village Mansehra.  She himself and her family is living below poverty line having least/minimum access to basic life needs; Balqeesa  husband Wais Khan is a daily wages labor in local market in Mansehra city; and is the only source of income to support such large family. Even she is unable to meet the basic food needs of his large family. In such circumstances Balqeesa and her family is living a miserable & hard-hitting life having minimum or least access to basic life needs. Life has become more challenging and depressed.

During initial interview it was keenly observed by SDF team that none of Balqeesa’s family member has vocation/technical skills , Balqeesa has some sort of vocational skill of stitching but not a professional order having least linkages with market stake holders nor has professional education; through which they may be able to earn a handsome income. Due to extreme poverty & her husband hand to mouth situation Balqeesa was unable to focus on her work. Mostly she spends her time at home in domestic works or to look after the kids. Balqeesa is eager that her 7 & 4 years daughters go to school and get the education; both the children are out of school; she wants to see them back to school.

Contribution of SDF team:
With the financial support of UNHCR; SDF got ELST project for Afghan Refugees targeted population in Distrcit Mansehra & Haripur. Basic theme of ELST project is to provide technical/vocational skills to 160 young Afghan M/F in both targeted Districts. It was remarkable idea to implement such sort of skill development project for most deprived and marginalized Afghan Refugees living within Pakistan; basic theme of idea is to enhance their vocational skills so they be able to live their life in a dignified manner while their stay in Pakistan and after peaceful return to their origin they may contribute to economic growth of their society & country . SDF also did tremendous job by providing linkages development opportunities with key stake holders and took a bold step of job placement/internship program for male Afghan trainees in such critical situation.

SDF team during ELST projects baseline survey met with Balqeesa and her family and got details about the miserable life of Balqeesa and her family. Balqeesa showed her extreme willing & interest to attain some sort of technical skills in Tailoring & Embroidery work trade so she may be able to support her husband and family to meet the basic needs of life. SDF team with mutual consultation of UNHCR enumerator & community members selected Balqeesa for 06 months vocational training held at Female Vocational center at Barari Afghan Village Mansehra. Balqeesa receiving tool kit & having market visit in Mansehra. Balqeesa after getting enrolled at vocational center in Tailoring trade took keen interest in her training and showed regular attendance and motivation. SDF team facilitated & supported Balqeesa to develop linkages and PR; also supported to conduct market visits to know market demands/needs and ongoing fashion/style/color combination.

Achievement/Current status;
In morning Balqeesa is taking regular classes at Community based vocational center at Barari village Mansehra and 2nd time she looks busy now stitching dresses on demand on market stake holders. Balqeesa is also she member of WDC (women development committee) and taking keen interest in sustainability and smooth running of display center. Balqeesa is now directly linked with boutique owners & buyers and taking regular orders of stitching dresses, bed sheets and some kind of hand embroidery work.
While having interview with Balqeesa on 30th  of March 2015 by Miss. Ayesha (SO) SDF; Balqeesa is triumphant that one side she is attaining professional short training course in vocational and on her side she has started to work in market as internee. Ballqeesa told that she is feeling difference between his previous life and living standard but after attaining vocational training and also attaining basic education in school established by SDF on self basis she is satisfied and happy to support her husband and family.  Balqeesa is earning about8000 to 10000 PKR/Month and efficiently contributing in economic stability of his family & society.

Coordination/networking, provision of basic education and preparing products on demands:

Balqeesa told that before the intervention of SDF she was not satisfied with living standard and thought to be a liability, no role in decision making in home, least access to basic life needs and most importantly she was worried about her children better future and education. But now she himself and her family are observing change in his and his family social & economic status. Ballqeesa and her husband while interview warmly paid thanks to SDF & UNHCR by providing Ballqeesa a plat form to enhance his vocational skills for sustainable productive results in future.

Findings:

Balqeesa also requested SDF team & UNHCR to launch such type of projects for young generation especially for Refugees females so they will be engaged in some productive activities which will lead to path way towards socio economic growth. Ballqeesa also told SDF team that she saves some money from stipend amount every month so she will be able to establish her own small business in future. She considered himself as role model for other young generation. Balqeesa showed her willing to return to Afghanistan and to establish her own small tailoring home based business at smaller scale. She also requested to provide some sort of micro financing to establish small business in Afghanistan.

Regards:
SDF team
ELST Project Mansehra & Haripur