Sonia Dildar, 18, lives in District Lodhran, a small and impoverished district in south Punjab, which remains largely isolated and inaccessible. Despite this, she grew up envisaging a life where she could actively work and her family would live comfortably. Sonia’s father passed away when she was very young. Soon after, her mother fell critically ill and the burden of the entire household fell on her shoulders. With the family’s already limited resources rapidly declining, Sonia left school to save money and look after her sisters and ailing mother. Unfortunately, her lack of education and skills rendered her incapable of earning sufficient funds to financially support her family. Once she enrolled in Punjab Youth Workforce Development Project (PYWDP)’s Domestic Tailoring class in Hatti Moton Mull, Sonia began to see her dreams coming true. She now learns new styles and cut-works every day and receives a monthly stipend of Rs.1500 which helps cover travel and household expenses. Upon graduating, Sonia plans to put her newly acquired and in-demand skills to good use in the textile industry. PYWDP is a three-year project funded by United States Agency for International Development (USAID), which provides technical and vocational training and employment opportunities to over 10,000 youth between the ages of 16 till 29 in South Punjab districts including Multan, Bahawalpur, Lodhran, and Muzaffargarh. Young women are encouraged to enroll to increase their opportunities for economic independence. The project emphasizes the cultivation of strong partnerships between public and private stakeholders to ensure the skills taught are those most needed in the market. Sonia is not alone in her endeavor to attain a vocational skill. Sajida Bibi, 28, is a fellow trainee in the class. Due to her family’s conservative beliefs, Sajida was not allowed to attend school. While she yearned to gain an education, her dreams seemingly slipped even further away when she was married. Fortunately, Sajida’s husband readily agreed to support her when she informed him about the opportunities offered by PYWD. “I am married with three children. I am fond of tailoring and I always wanted to learn this it but I never had the chance to do so. I will strive to master this skill and will start my own boutique so that I can provide a better standard of living to my children,” shared Sajida Bibi. The project also provides interest-free microfinance loans as well as start-up tool kit (e.g., plumbing tools; sewing equipment) at the end of their training with a goal of equipping young entrepreneurs with the resources to start their own businesses and provide services to their communities. Entrepreneurship is not rare among female graduates of PYWDP, who are both talented and eager to maximize their new skills. “This training will open many doors for me and, in the future, I plan on passing this skill to other poor girls in my district,” says Iqra Sajjad, GTTI Qasim Pur Colony, Multan Youth such as Nasir Mehmood realize the benefits of technical skills. Nasir is enrolled in the Electrician Course at the Government Technical Training Institute. Nasir is of the view that a skill, once acquired, is an asset for life: “I believe that a skilled person can never be without a job as his skills are always in demand somewhere. Upon completion of the Electrician training, my prospects of earning a decent living will increase drastically and I will have more opportunities in life.” In Pakistan, technical and vocational training to gain employment or to start a business is slowly gaining recognition. As per the Economic Survey of Pakistan 2016-17, high quality technical and vocational skills training can positively impact social and economic development issues. Creating these opportunities for youth in south Punjab will not only reduce the likelihood of extremism and instability in the area but will also foster financial independence and civic awareness for youth.