First Lady Begum Samina Alvi Saturday underlined the need for sustained efforts for the economic empowerment of women, especially from the under privileged areas of the country, by provision of equal opportunities in different fields. Addressing an inauguration ceremony of the arts and crafts exhibition arranged by Indus Heritage Trust titled “Celebrating the creative economy through the creative industry”, Begum Alvi stressed for revival of traditional arts and crafts which could not only help in preservation of the national heritage, but also provide equal income generating opportunities to the womenfolk. Lauding the efforts of the Trust for provision of business opportunities to the women from the underprivileged parts of the country through its efforts to preserve the traditional arts and crafts, she observed that economically empowered women always contributed towards a strong and progressive society. She said such efforts could be materialized with proper training and skills development of the womenfolk in traditional arts and crafts. The traditional method of stitching and embroidery still in practice in different parts of the country, could be encouraged like the efforts made by Turkey in preservation of its traditional skills, she added. Emphasizing upon the need of revival of arts and artisans, she said that exchange of delegations from other countries could supplement such efforts and showcase the unique traditional arts and culture of Pakistan abroad. She said that women being a component of about 50 per cent of the country’s population should enjoy equal rights as it was critical for the progress and development of a society. Begum Alvi said that she had been playing her role along with other stakeholders in highlighting and creating awareness about the breast cancer and the issues of the people with disabilities. The breast cancer in Pakistan had been become the fatal disease and a large number of deaths were linked with this disease due to lack of awareness, she added. Begum Alvi said that every year, October was being observed as a month for creation of awareness about the breast cancer and the message needed to be spread persistently throughout the year. “Healthy women can form a healthy and strong society,” she added. About persons with disabilities, she observed that they possessed immense talents and should be given equal opportunities in all walks of life which would further pave a way for their economic inclusiveness. Chairperson of Indus Heritage Trust Siddiqa Malik highlighted the functioning of the trust and the training imparted to the women of the underprivileged areas in arts and crafts. She informed that they had so far trained 10,000 women who were able to generate a revenue of about $75,000. Besides, the Trust also trained 5,000 Afghan refugee women in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan provinces in traditional Afghan arts and crafts.