Defeating disability

Author: Our Correspondent

Deaf and dumb Shaista is only 13 and seems to know the skills to defeat her disability at this tender age and has acquired the skill of appliqué work through poverty reduction program at her village Lal Bux Taggar near Sobhodero district Khairpur. The program is the joint venture of Sindh Government and Sindh Rural Support Organization, which is aimed at women empowerment. Because of her disability to hear and speak, her parents sent her to deaf and dumb school, where she passed her primary and then was taken off as there was no middle or secondary school in her area.

Thanks to the Sindh government and Sindh Rural Support Organization, which started poverty reduction program throughout Khairpur district in 2017, which provided a platform to the rural women to prove their talent and earn respectably to support their respective families. Though Shaista is neither able to talk nor she could hear, but has the ability to express inner feelings and joys through sign language. Her eyes beaming with a bright future ahead and her smile added to her confidence, through which she was trying to tell that, she is earning good through her skills of appliqué work and pulling her family out of extreme poverty.

The Chairman Sindh Rural Support Organization (SRSO) Shoaib Sultan Khan takes keen interest in his job and feels proud, when rural women, who otherwise are not able to talk to the strangers, were sharing their success stories in big gathering in the presence of women and men. During the visit to village Kehar of district Khairpur, Shoaib Sultan Khan addressing the successful women, expressing his joys said, it is heartening to see that, the women of district Khairpur have great success stories to share in just two years. According to him, the Sindh government started this program through SRSO back in 2009 and in just one decade women in rural areas of almost 18 districts have been put on the track to prosperity. He said, of eighteen districts, ten are being funded by the Sindh government, while eight districts are being funded by the European Union. With a big smile, Shoaib Sultan told that, in 2009 when then Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah met him and asked about the program, I told him that, I will involve rural women in this program. Syed Qaim Ali Shah, who was well aware about the environment and conditions of rural women, said, give it try and let us see its outcome, he said. “And today you can see the rural women can work wonders, when given a chance to express their hidden talents”, he said.

On this occasion, many beneficiaries of the program had displayed their work, which was highly appreciated by the Chairman SRSO, CEO SRSO Dittal Kalhoro and Coordinator Sindh government Ms Iffat Malik, who looked surprised with the confidence and talent of rural women. Many beneficiaries including, Sheher Bano, Nusrat, Shumaila, Ghulam Fizza, Noor Bano and others spoke on the occasion and shared their experience to the participants and visitors. They said, thanks to SRSO, today besides doing our own business, we are well aware of women and children rights and our men, who earlier never took us seriously, now feel proud to let us participate in important decision making. The Chairman SRSO also distributed cheques under Community Investment Funds to some of the beneficiaries. The Chairman also inaugurated the office of Local Support Organization in village Kehar, after which he also visited the wheat grinding plant, established by a group of women including, Sheher Bano, Nusrat and others. The wheat grinding plant was established by a group of ten women at the cost of Rs.385000 through Community Investment Fund, advanced them by the SRSO. It is mentioned that, the all the loans advanced to the women are interest free and payable in easy installments. Nusrat and others, who are running the business of wheat grinding plant were very happy with their work and said, it would have been next to impossible for them to establish such a business without the support of SRSO. The women looked happy and satisfied with what they were earning through this wheat grinding plant.

Earlier, SRSO team led by its Chairman Shoaib Sultan Khan visited village Mudd Khoso of Lakhi Ghulam Shah district Shikarpur and met with the successful women of the area, who have been working for the uplift of rural women since 2012. The poverty reduction program has been ended in Shikarpur district and it has been replaced by Program for Improved Nutrition in Sindh, National Poverty Graduation Program and others. On this occasion, the leaders of Local Support Organization, Village Organization and others including, Gulshad, Najma Pannah, Abida, Hidayat Khatoon, Mirzadi and Mehnaz shared their success stories to the audience. Najma Pannah one of the beneficiaries of the program, told that, her husband use to gun a grocery shop, but due to lack of resources was not able to run it properly. Najma sought Rs.10000 as loan through community investment fund and handed it over to her husband, who invested the money in his grocery shop and with the passage of time, not only she repaid the loan, but saved enough to provide better living to her children. The Chairman Shoaib Sultan distributed cheques to the women under Ehsas Program amounting from Rs.22000 to Rs.25000. Before the start of SRSO in Sindh, Shoaib Sultan worked for women empowerment in Gilgit Baltistan for ten years and due to coordinated efforts, the income of women in Gilgit Baltistan doubled.

Talking about the approach of the SRSO, the CEO SRSO Dittal Kalhoro told that, SRSO takes social mobilization as an approach, through which it could be able to organize, educate and train people as per their desires and potentials. He said, the social mobilization consists of layers/tiers within their geographic locations, which consists of Local Support Organization, Village Organization and Community Organization, which are run by their respective leaders, he told. Programs of SRSO are aimed at capacity building by organizing local communities, he went on to say, in short SRSO is a tool to women empowerment, providing funds, skills, knowhow and training to the rural women. “I am happy that, SRSO and the Sindh government jointly have worked wonders to put the rural women on the track of sustainable development and thus pulling them out of extreme poverty”, he added. “Twice in a year SRSO use to arrange an exhibition in big malls of Karachi, where these women put on display their work and earn handsome amount,” he concluded.

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