Seamstress stitches together a secure future

With support from UNDP’s Community Resilience initiative, Rukhsana opened her own tailoring and embroidery business in her house

Rukhsana, 40, lives in the Malikyar village in District Haripur with her husband and four children. When her husband was laid off from a local factory, they relied on the support of their extended family. As a result, Rukhsana decided to become financially independent and started sewing clothes for her neighbours.


  • 60,000 people have come together in nearly 2,410 community organizations, including 879 women’s organizations
  • 15 percent increase in household incomes of more than 4,000 people due to skills enhancement efforts
  • Poverty level reduced by 5 percent in target areas of KP and Balochistan since 2010

Her meagre income was inadequate to meet the family’s basic needs, and Rukhsana was forced to borrow heavily from her relatives and friends to keep her children in school.

“Those years were the toughest for us and we accumulated huge debts” she recalls with tears in her eyes. She was unable to send her children to college.  

With support from UNDP’s Community Resilience initiative, a women’s community organisation was set up in Rukhsana’s village. She was selected as the first president of the newly set up ‘Roshni’ organisation and was nominated to attend a three-month training course in hand embroidery. This project was funded by the Government of Japan and the European Union.

Rukhsana’s tailoring and embroidery skills improved significantly and she also learned valuable entrepreneurial skills, allowing her to start a small business in her house. Rukhsana established useful links with the Mardan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) through the skills development programme. These enabled her to show her work in international exhibitions.

“My monthly income increased from a paltry PKR 3,000 to PKR 10,000 after I attended the skills training programme, allowing me to meet the expenses of my family. I have also been able to pay back our debts and my daughters are now going to college,” she says proudly.

Rukhsana visited Turkey with a group of entrepreneurs on a trip facilitated by the MCCI. There she sold her products and picked up new orders. She also represented Pakistan at an international exhibition in India.

Rukhsana has conducted short-term training workshops on embroidery and stitching for various non-governmental organisations.

Social infrastructure projects like this address diverse needs and have been successfully implemented in collaboration with local communities, promoting social cohesion at the same time.

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