In Pakistan, where women have few opportunities to build their self-reliance, locating confident and established women in rural communities is rare. Salma Rahim, a master-embellisher from remote Dera Jatta in Bahawalpur, always dreamt of escaping poverty and inspiring women around develop their skills and empower themselves.
After completing a diploma course at a vocational institute, Salma and her sisters Rabia and Zehra, went door to door in their village to recruit women and form a small team of embellishers who they trained at their home. Training is essential to polish any skill, and in this business only practice improves how detail-oriented and creative you are,” says Salma.
The women were introduced to a fashion designer from Karachi who guided them to develop their skills further and break into urban markets. Only eight months after it began, Zardozi Bridal Wear employs over 80 women from surrounding villages and hopes to grow to 200 this year.
Zardozi offers its employees transportation to and from the training facility which encourages the women to continue working. “I hope Zardozi provides women with a chance to earn a livelihood and improve their self-esteem by showing them how much they are capable of.” In the recent Lahore Fashion Week, Saima had an opportunity to connect with leading designers and learn about new styles and trends in the market. Zardozi has begun receiving orders from designers across the country.