Ruby Dewan, a Pakistani trainer, has facilitated entrepreneurship development for marginalized groups in the dairy, embroidery, plant seedlings, and jewelry subsectors. She has modified the eLife curriculum from Foundation for Social Change so that it is relevant to the specific needs and interests of the young women Marshall Direct Fund is working with. The 8-10 week curriculum will include program elements such as financial and time management support entrepreneurs through a combination of personal skills mentorship, group collaboration, and building practical business knowledge. Ruby will be sharing pictures and transcribing the progress of the young women participating in this school challenge. You can learn more about Ruby here. Very delighted for your interest in following our activities!!!
Why do what we do? According to the UN, 74% of Pakistan’s 170 million people live on less than $2/day and 17 million school-aged children are out of school. Government-run public education in Pakistan is not only inaccessible to youth; when it is accessible much of the curriculum enforces rote learning and a narrow-minded worldview that fuels negative stereotypes. Private schools are cost-prohibitive to low-income families. Children need access to multiple subjects, critical thinking, and skills to be a driving force in the economic development of their country and be equipped to solve the real-world problems the country of Pakistan faces.
Pakistan fails to invest in one of the greatest national assets, its girls and women. According to the World Economic Forum Report on the gender gap, Pakistan ranks 56 out of 58 developing countries studied in terms of percentage of women engaged in the work force. We cannot overlook the multiplier effect investing in girls and women has on the reinvestment of income in human capital of future generations. Economic and Social Council President of the UN, Lazarous Kapambwe, claims that investment in women’s and girls’ education has a multiplier effect on the well-being of families and the development of their communities and nations. In turn, those investments lead to faster poverty reduction and more sustainable economic growth, proving the Chinese saying that “to plan for a day, catch a fish; to plan for a year, plant rice; to plan for a decade, plant a tree; but to plan for a lifetime, educate a girl”.
Our business activities will help communities not only by investing in people, but also by increasing profit. The young women in the vocational schools currently earn on average $51 per month for their work. This amount could be increased by having access to and information about higher-end market demand. We could easily make triple to quadruple the present wages once connected to the higher-end marketplace. We estimate that it will take a half hour to create each product. This means we can feasibly make 192 pairs per month (fair labor work day is 4 hours in length, 6 days per week or similar to accommodate other important work in the homes and with children). Considering that the household budget of the average family in this region is $1,000 per year, this extra income will make a significant impact in quality of life and economic uplift! We look forward to sharing our journey and learnings with you. Thank you so very much for your interest and support!