Meet Qudsia. She’s a dairy farmer living in a village in rural Pakistan. She’s also an executive leader in her village’s milk co-operative.
Women in Qudsia’s community don’t often work in leadership roles but she’s setting a bold new example for others. “Before this,” Qudsia reflects, “women did not know they had a right to be part of committees formed in the village, or to be able to look after any economic activities, which are usually carried out by the men.”
Qudsia is a member of a local Milk Farming Cooperative, one of 330 co-operatives supported by our national partner organization, Empowerment Thru Creative Integration. Through her Co-operative, Qudsia has been strengthening her skills and learning to be an effective entrepreneur in the dairy industry. She’s received training in improved dairy production, family nutrition, gender equity, fundamental business skills and valuable leadership skills.
She also completed training in management which led to her executive position in her village’s new milk co-operative.
“We gained encouragement that we can do work that our men believed only they could do,” she explained.
Things are indeed changing. “She is a brilliant girl,” Qudsia’s uncle told us. “We are happy that she has taken an important role on the Co-operative management team in our community. It will certainly enable her to manage her own business in the future and to serve her village through this platform.”
Qudsia is taking center stage in her industry and in her community. Most importantly, she’s sharing these lessons with other women in her village.
Spreading knowledge to empower her community
“I have found so much courage in joining the Farmer’s Milk Cooperative,” Qudsia reflects gratefully. However, the greatest gift has been her ability to share her learning to others, ensuring that more women can be knowledgeable and confident in her community.
Zeinab, for example, is a young woman in Qudsia’s Co-operative who has been learning from Qudsia about how to manage financial accounts. She has also been learning to step forward and take charge of her family’s livelihood.
Proud and inspired, Qudsia has big plans for her community’s future. “We have now adopted practices that we know will lead to women’s greater involvement in household and community decision making and, thanks to nutrition training, to improved health for women and children in the community. In this way, it will give women more control over their lives and pave the way to empowering them.”
Qudsia reflects warmly on what it has meant to her to share her newfound courage and confidence with those around her. “With this new experience, village women have started realizing they are important within the community – this is an overwhelming feeling.”
Impact in numbers
Women account for 90 per cent of Pakistan’s dairy industry, but men control the business. This project has specific goals to increase incomes and improve gender equity by helping build a brighter future women and girls in Pakistan – a future in which they are respected leaders in their communities and industries and are recognized and rewarded for their meaningful contributions.
Click on a number below to see the impact this project has happened to date!
Paving the path to a brighter future
Qudsia and women in her community are now able to achieve their full potential. You can help change the story for women in Peru and Pakistan with this Gift of Hope: The Mom Shop. This project provides business training covering everything from artisan skills, self-esteem, teamwork, and communication to financial literacy.