Vocational Education

Providing skills & business opportunities to mothers and young women

Pakistan is ranked as one of the lowest countries in terms of women participating in the workforce. Vocational training  provides women with tools necessary to start successful businesses, generate income, send their children to school and lift families and communities out of poverty. The program pilot was conducted with over 200 women in Kashmir in 2012. Since then over 1,000 women have graduated annually.

The Curriculum: Training is based on a 10 week curriculum which can be condensed  to fit shorter time frames. The Economic Life (eLife) curriculum was provided by Foundation for Social Change, which included input from some of the world’s most highly regarded International Development experts, and contributions from New York University’s Stern Business School for Social Innovation. The curriculum has been translated and modified to meet the cultural realities of women in under served areas of Pakistan and is tailored each training to meet the specific needs of a given group.

How it works: Permission from fathers, brothers, and/or husbands to participate ensures necessary support for business success. The master trainer travels throughout the country working with partners to provide training to groups of 30-100 women at a time. In the conservative Muslim culture women are not permitted the same freedoms to work where she would please. By creating a safe space where women can congregate in a socially accepted manner, women can learn and engage in activities that contribute to her family income. A portion of the proceeds of the successful enterprises are re-invested to assist in the long-term sustainability of operations. We hope to scale the program to meet the great demand and do more training of other trainers.


MDF5Roshan: “My Name is Roshan and I belong to the embroidery course. In this training we were told about business. We thought this training would be useless, how can we start out business? We only came here to study our course and to learn embroidery. We thought that we would not be able to do that When we attended this training, our thinking changed and we got to learn about business. Business starts from the home. It doesn’t only start in big factories, but we can also start at a small level. It changed our thoughts. We got different ideas, about how we can make our business successful. We have knowledge of positive and negative aspects. This training was very good. We had only four days, but they were very useful to us, We want to have more similar types of training and to gain more knowledge.”

Sabeen: “My name is Sabeen. I have so many ideas, but to implement these ideas,  I don’t have the confidence. After attending this workshop I have courage to implement my ideas. I have learned a lot of concepts. I had a lot of confusion and challenges around how to start my business, now I will explore this path. Now I know where I need to start my business. I knew the destination, but didn’t have directions. I think these types of workshops need to be conducted. This is beneficial for us. It will help us to grow and prosper.”