The Gujjar people are an ethnic agricultural community spread across India, Pakistan and Afghanistan. They are of low caste and suffer from acts of oppression including kidnapping and slavery by more aggressive neighbouring communities. Like many women and girls from this community, Yameen, 28, grew up believing that she had no status and would not gain an education.
Things began to change in 2008, when leaders from our partner organisation Shining Light Community Development Organisation (SLCDO) befriended the elders and religious leaders of her village. SLCDO supports community-led education, training and development programmes. Fast forward to 2019 and the community boasts of having 5 schools educating 500 children. Girls make up 20% – helping to rescue many from early marriages and early parenthood.
Yasmeen was one of these children, but having completed her 10th grade she was not able to continue as her parents were too impoverished to send her to college. However, SLCDO offered her a place on their vocational training, in sewing and tailoring, at their centre in Gilgit. Now she is one of two trainers supported by Rope to bring vocational training and personal development education to 50 women from the Gujjar community through two newly established centres.
Yasmeen is training women in her own community so they too can make a personal contribution to their family’s financial status. The course is run over a 12 month period and the women learn in groups, which help to develop mutual support networks and gain an understanding of their value in the world.
She went from dreaming of an education to educating women herself!
- £7 will provide a woman like Yasmeen with all sewing materials to help her learn.
- £80 will buy her a sewing machine for when she graduates
- £20 a month will enable her to attend this one year course, equipping her to establish her own business