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Revitalising youth enterprises — a ray of hope for Balochistan

Published 14 Dec, 2020 06:58am

QUETTA: Aminullah, a resident of Ziarat district, struggled for a long time to find a sustainable means of income for himself and his family. He saw a hope when he became able to open his own mobile repair shop after becoming a part of the Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund’s (PPAF) Revitalising Youth Enterprises (RYE) programme.

The RYE programme led by the PPAF in coordination with the Balochistan Rural Support Programme (BRSP), is an initiative specifically launched for the youth of Balochistan.

It provides vocational training to 300 men and women of Qilla Saifullah and Ziarat, two of the most poverty-stricken areas of the province.

The skill development programme served as a foundation for networking and enhancing opportunities for the youth of the area, exposing them to sustainable means of income.

Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund’s programme bringing positive change to the poor’s lives

Rozina, a beneficiary of the RYE programme said, “Young women are capable of learning and changing their destinies if given the opportunity to thrive. The RYE programme allowed me to work upon my skills and earn a respectable living for my family.”

The programme allowed 90 per cent of the successful trainees to develop links and expand their professional network; whereas, 50pc of the trainees showcased an improvement in their abilities to work in different sectors. The programme gave the youth a chance to take part in income generating activities and placement in relevant job markets.

This opportunity provided them with necessary tools to learn something new and enhance their skill set. The courses ranged from beautician, fashion designer, bed clothing designer for women and repair work, domestic cooking, baking and veterinary courses for men.

In addition, the programme provided a prospect to youngsters to work as paid interns for a span of two months, giving them necessary professional exposure.

A young man, Tariq, was able to become a professional chef at a local bakery in Ziarat town through a commercial cooking course which was supported by the PPAF. It introduced new culinary skills, helping Tariq to diversify his talent.

“I always loved to cook, but could have never imagined that I could use this skill of mine to generate income. The skill development course gave me an insight on commercial aspects of cooking,” he added.

The BRSP and the PPAF took on board several famous institutions for training of the youth such as the Hashoo Foundation, allowing the youth to learn under best trainers.

Despite being endowed with rich natural resources, Balochistan is still considered the most economically backward province of Pakistan. The youth of Balochistan is kept deprived of proper educational facilities and technological advancement.

According to Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), about 19.5pc of Balochistan’s population is between 15 and 29 years of age out of which approximately 50pc is illiterate and 2.3pc is involved in social organisations and participates in social activities.

Stressing the importance of unemployment amongst the youth and the poor economic state of the province, the programme served as an excellent resource to train and organise the youth workforce. It also paved the way for economic independence and socio-economic rejuvenation of the impoverished districts of Balochistan.

Balochistan has great potential to flourish if equipped with proper resources and provided opportunities to do so. It should be central to more of such initiatives that bring the youth forward.

Providing youngsters with a platform to learn and at the same time mobilising the economic integration of all in the market could be a game changer for the region. This will reduce the damage caused by lack of training and the poor state of job prospects.

It will eventually lead to more sustainable growth and developmental plans in the province. The advancement in entrepreneurial activities, vocational training and targeted skill-development can serve as one of the many workable solutions that can be utilised to propagate change in the underprivileged province.

Published in Dawn, December 14th, 2020


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