RACDO Economic Empowerment of Communities through Skill Development

Despite working extremely hard, rural women have not risen above a marginal subsistence. Despite being more than half of the population, they have been kept outside the scope and benefits of self-sufficiency. They are often pushed back, sometimes in the name of culture under the political slogan of ‘Chadar and Chardiwari’, translating into veiled and constricted, and other times in the name of religion, portraying their image as individuals with roles of motherhood and household caretakers only. Women need empowerment through economic self-sufficiency and awareness on socio-political and legal issues. RACDO has made attempts to mobilize, organize, and strengthen rural women at the root level through various skill-training programs.
Vocational Training Programming for Women

This program was initiated in the month of September 1996 for the duration of one year in Jawala Nagar, a suburban area of Faisalabad. It consisted of teaching sewing, stitching, and embroidery skills initially. Later activities were launched on the same pattern within the premises of Al Rehmat Welfare complex and it has been a permanent feature of the RACDO skill development and income generation program to date. After completing the training, those who wanted to start their own small apprenticeship were introduced to nearby commercial markets and began to market their products.

Over 200 women have completed stitching and tailoring programs belonging to different villages in their surroundings. 247 women have been trained in hand embroidery and 212 women have been trained in industrial and commercial stitching. 78 women received technical assistance in starting their own small business and 85 girls received beautician training.

RACDO Computer Training Program
A Journey toward Economic Empowerment

“Computer and information technology have provided some hope for the future of women’s economic empowerment. The more technical training available to women, the more likely they are to get higher paying jobs”, said Khadija Haq, a leasing development economist and president of the Mehboob-ul-Haq Human Development Centre in Islamabad, Pakistan.

RACDO started a computer training program in April 2004 to empower and support the socially marginalized, economically weak, and low educated folks, especially the youth and adult learners of the community. The purpose of this training is confidence building. The biggest success with the participants is getting them away from the fear of technology. Learning from the Internet enables them to face the challenges. It increases their demand in the job market and enhances their employment opportunities. Moreover, RACDO staff and health workers have also benefited from this program. The use of email for communication and advocacy is the order of the day in the field of development. The training sessions are divided into the basic, intermediate and advanced computer skill levels. The curriculum aims to enhance the students’ understanding of computer networks and software programs.

Over 294 computer trainees have benefited so far from the computer proficiency classes held in different sessions of our training programs, out of which 179 boys, 72 girls and 28 adults were trained. Most of them are working in private settings and contributing to uplift their families’ living conditions.