Lahore (Muhammad Yasir) The graduation ceremony of more than 300 female students was held at the Pasrur Vocational Training Center, which is a part of a Coca-Cola funded project ‘Women Economic Empowerment Program’ in partnership with Kashf Foundation. Since 2017, five community based vocational training centers have been set up under this Program, and these centers have delivered 3-months training sessions to the local low-income women of the area, focusing on non-traditional trade for women like football stitching. The ceremony was attended by all the graduating students, and by Roshaneh Zafar, Managing Director of Kashf Foundation and Fahad Qadir, Director Public Affairs & Communications of Coca-Cola Pakistan.
At the ceremony Fahad Qadir highlighted, “Coca-Cola partnered with Kashf Foundation first in 2011 to set the ground for a microfinance project serving the needs of low-income females all across Pakistan to enhance their household income. Since then, the project has developed a multi-faceted approach by providing qualitative benefits like gender training to support women empowerment, and financial management courses for female entrepreneurs. It is a great step forward for bringing the marginalized women of Pakistan into the mainstream, as empowered women contribute significantly towards the economy and the healthy development of our society.”
In the last 7 years the project has empowered more than 7,500 female entrepreneurs, and has been able to facilitate the enrollment of low-income females in the corporate sector by providing skill-based trainings at Pasrur Vocational Center, to bridge the gap between trainings and employment. Coca-Cola’s global program ‘5by20’ aims to empower more than 5 million females by the year 2020 and Kashf Foundation supports this mandate.
Speaking about the partnership with Coca-Cola Pakistan, Roshaneh Zafar emphasized “The collaboration over the past seven years has generated many monumental investments into the economic enablement of impoverished female entrepreneurs in Pakistan. The skills learned through this new trade of football stitching will bring out positive impact in terms of higher wages, better employability prospects and break stereotypical barriers in this male dominant industry.”
Kashf’s internal research has shown that vocational education trainings have a positive impact on wages, employment, mobility and employment opportunity. Complementing vocational trainings with trainings on financial management, self-actualization and self-confidence can help expand the economic benefits of the trainings to the trainees. Around 67% of the graduates of Kashf’s previous vocational trainings are now running their own businesses and 50% of the football stitching trainees from this program have already started acquiring orders from the market and various factories.