A Housewife Becomes an Entrepreneur

A Housewife Becomes an Entrepreneur
Jamila Khatoon discusses new designs with her fellow embroiderers in Malir, a district of Karachi.
MEDA
USAID is helping female artisans improve their products and access better markets.
“I don’t have to think about what I will feed my children anymore. Instead, I can think about my children going to school and learning things I don’t know.” — Jamila Khatoon

Jamila Khatoon, her husband and seven children live in Malir. This impoverished district of Karachi is a home to thousands of people with middle and lower income.  “My husband is a day laborer. His small income does not cover the family’s basic needs,” says Khatoon.

Even though she has no education or experience on the formal labor market, Khatoon wanted to support her husband by earning additional income. She used to embroider fabric using Sindhi and Balochi stitch and did beadwork, but had very few orders, and was only earning $7 a month.
 
“One day I was talking to a friend that I would like to find more work,” says Khatoon. “My friend told me about a training program sponsored by USAID’s Entrepreneurs Project which helped females like me earn living.” 
 
The USAID Entrepreneurs Project is helping 26,000 embellishers across Pakistan strengthens their skills and business capacities to help them pursue better income opportunities. The project is helping women embellishers to identify products that are relevant to the market, to access better markets and business service providers, and to create new value added products. Additionally the project helps these women entrepreneurs link up with local financial institutions to access loans in order to grow their businesses. 
 
Khatoon registered for the USAID-sponsored training on the development of embroidery designs to earn money through her skill. The project also trained her to represent other women to the purchasers or the embellished fabric, so that together, they are able to offer a large quantity of products and receive a better price.
 
Today, Khatoon is managing a team of 65 women embellishers. She helps these women receive orders, and collects and delivers finished products to buyers.  She is now earning more than $19 a month.
 
“I don’t have to think about what I will feed my children anymore,” says Khatoon, who is one of 26,000 women who will benefit from the project by 2014. “Instead, I can think about my children going to school and learning things I don’t know.”

Last updated: December 16, 2013

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