ISLAMABAD: Speakers at a seminar here Wednesday highlighted the role of social female activists for empowerment of women in Balochistan and bringing change in the rigid and insular approach of society, especially in rural areas of the province.
They paid tribute to two activists Asyah Nasir and Saleha Bibi for becoming a role model in villages by assisting the poor and deserving people to avail livelihood opportunities, get education and access health facilities.
The seminar was organized by Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF) to share achievements made under the Programme for Poverty Reduction (PPR).
The programme financed by the Italian government through the Agency for Development Cooperation is being executed in 14 districts of Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, focusing on establishing basic health and education services, social mobilization, livelihood enhancement and protection, construction and improvement of small-scale community infrastructures.
Addressing the seminar, Secretary Education Balochistan Noor ul Haq Baloch said both Asyah Nasir and Saleha Bibi were a role model for social activists, who were working for empowerment of the under-privileged segments of society in Balochistan.
He underlined the need for community involvement in improving educational facilities in the province. The government was working to enhance the community role in the education sector by setting up Parents-Teachers Meeting Committees (PTMCs) in schools. “The community involvement is imperative for bringing a change in the society,” he added.
He said the government had planned to establish 500 community schools in phases to end illiteracy in the province.
Saleha Bibi, a resident of Lasbela district and Vice President of Local Support Organizaton, said all 55 households of her village were poor with a little access to education, health and other facilities. Women were particularly the most deprived in the rural areas, unaware of their basic rights and negligible role in decision-making, she added.
Saleha said she made untiring efforts to create awareness among the women of her area about their social rights. She got training under the social mobilization component of PPR, which helped her convincing the village women to make efforts for their own uplift and that of the people in their surroundings.
Asyha Nasir, another braved woman who migrated from Turbat to the port city of Gwadar, said she left her job with Pakistan Navy to teach the children of her area. She established a school in the open in her village with enrollment of 20 students, whose number had now grown to 115 students, she said, adding that the PPR had played an important role in that regard.
She said she also provided midwife services, besides taking part in other projects related to women development.
PPR’s Manager Sarfraz said the Italian government had provided Rs 5.5 billion to the PPR, which established 30 community health centers, 170 community schools and 1340 small infrastructure projects across in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Some 4,200 Community Organizations (CO), 644 Village Organizations (VO) and 42 Local Support Organizations, consisting of 20 to 25 members at community, village and union council levels respectively, were working under the Programme for poverty alleviation through creating sustainable conditions of social and economic development, he added.
The secretary education gave away souvenirs and cash prizes to Asyah Nasir and Saleha Bibi for their services towards women empowerment.