Women's economic empowerment: Bhain's story
Bhain Behn is a middle-aged woman who lives in the underdeveloped village of Pir Baksh in Khairpur, Pakistan. She lives with her husband and five children, and they previously struggled to make ends meet on her husband’s wages of PKR 200 – 300 (approximately £1.50) per day. Bhain Behn spent each day trying to fulfil her family’s basic requirements in vain.
Instead of accepting this situation, Bhain Behn decided to take steps to change their circumstances. She applied for and received a loan of PKR 20,000 (approximately £111) from our local partner Akhuwat, as a part of the British Asian Trust’s Women’s Economic Empowerment Programme funded by DFID.
Bhain Behn bought material and started making quilts at home. She meticulously finished making one within two to three days and her husband then sold it in the city.
The neatness of her handiwork, coupled with exciting designs and colours, quickly led to a growing demand for her quilts. Her confidence in her abilities and ideas also grew. She is now producing one Rally quilt a day which is sold for a profit of PKR 250 – 400 (approximately £2.20). She has also slowly developed a permanent client base in the city.
She confidently stated that the family’s quality of life has drastically improved and now she is able to provide better nutrition and education for her children. Furthermore, aside from fulfilling household expenditure, she is also saving PKR 8,000 – 9,000 (approximately £50) on a monthly basis.
Bhain Behn is now financially empowered and is helping to provide for her family.
She feels like she has set a good example for other women in her community by setting up a successful home-based business.
To empower women from marginalised communities so that they can reach their true economic potential, the British Asian Trust, in partnership with Akhuwat Foundation and funded by the Department for International Development (DFID) now called the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) as of 2 September 2020, started its Women’s Economic Empowerment Programme in June 2017. Here you can read how one woman turned her family’s lives around as a result.