Pakistan’s gems and jewelry sector is often described as a cottage industry, where a typical workshop employs a handful of artisans who craft pieces by hand or with outdated machinery. Since 2004, a USAID-led working group has been helping representatives of the precious stones and jewelry industry tap into that potential by fostering cooperation between industry players from “mine-to-market.”
With USAID support, Holy Family Hospital is pioneering telemedicine – healthcare services through information and communications technologies such as videoconferencing. Holy Family serves as a hub where specialists from the hospital consult in real time with patients who visit one of eight established telemedicine sites in rural clinics in Punjab and Sindh provinces.
In late 2007, economic recession combined with a regional drought brought poor communities to their knees in rural western Pakistan. Families stopped sending their children to school, and instead put them to work to help pay for their evening bread. With few skills or opportunities, the least fortunate took to the streets to become beggars.
Bakhtawar was a good student in the fifth grade at a small school located in a Southern Pakistan village. She enjoyed learning, laughing with her friends, and spending time with her family. But one evening, as she sat nervously in a chair beside her parents at the local meeting hall, she knew that everything about her childhood was coming to an end. No more school, no more girlfriends, no more fun. At 15, Bakhtawar was about to become engaged to be married.
Gul Laila, a resident of Dharian Bambian, Pakistan, can’t read or write, but she still arrives at the local school early every morning. Before heading off to her job as a domestic worker, she stops by the school to ensure all the teachers have shown up for work. Faculty absenteeism has no longer been an issue since the School Management Committee elected Laila as its chairwoman.
Last updated: March 10, 2014