The lush-green Swat valley is one of the most beautiful places in Pakistan. Unfortunately much its beauty has been damaged by natural disasters and the long battle against militancy. Women in militant-controlled areas were confined to their homes and could not go out to shop, visit doctors or to go to school.
Sabrina, a mother of four with ambitions higher than the mountains she was born under, comes from a family of poor embellishers. She started embellishing with her mother as a child to earn the family extra money. After finishing secondary school, she couldn’t afford to continue studying — but she never lost hope.
She learned about an NGO developing women’s skills in her village and approached them to join. Because of her extraordinary talent, she was offered a job as trainer and shortly thereafter decided to start her own vocational institute and boutique. With a small investment of Rs 5,000, she built 2 vocational centres in Swat and one in Peshawar. She trains poor women and then hires them to work for her, while her husband Saleh Mohammad markets their products. Today they employ 125 women from Swat and 50 from Peshawar.
“I feel proud to work and to earn for my family,” says Sabrina. “I want to open outlets in major cities to employ and empower poor women so that they can contribute their own livelihoods.”