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Chinese centre empowers Gwadar’s women tailors

April 06, 2021

ISLAMABAD: Shazia Tariq, a 28-year-old tailor in the Gwadar district, was elated on finding a tailoring centre founded by the Chinese in her hometown, where she could earn good money and polish her...

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ISLAMABAD: Shazia Tariq, a 28-year-old tailor in the Gwadar district, was elated on finding a tailoring centre founded by the Chinese in her hometown, where she could earn good money and polish her skills.

“I had been a tailor since years and I stitched hundreds of dresses for people living in my village,” Tariq told Xinhua. “When I heard about job creation at the tailoring centre in my area, I jumped at the opportunity and now it is providing me a chance to further polish my skills besides giving me monetary benefits.”

Tariq, the single breadwinner of her family after her husband lost his small business amid the Covid-19 lockdown, said she takes a decent amount back home to bear household expenses and it gives her a sense of empowerment.

“It is just the beginning. Our Chinese brothers and sisters are transforming Gwadar and changing the fate of the area. I believe that they will also change the fate of women like me in the centre by giving us opportunities to make the best of our skills to build our future,” she added.

As one of the pillar projects of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the Gwadar port has been operated by China Overseas Port Holding Company (COPHC) since 2013.

The tailoring centre project was supported by the Chinese Consulate General in Karachi and implemented by the COPHC in collaboration with a local women development organisation to support and empower skilful women of Gwadar.

Zaitoon Abdullah, a social worker and coordinator of the tailoring centre, told Xinhua that in the initial phase, samples made by the women were sent to different companies and educational institutes in Gwadar, while in the second phase they prepared uniforms for Chinese companies and educational institutes.

“The women come to the centre and make different samples to be sent to the institutes and companies, and they are paid a monthly stipend by the Chinese, who have not only provided jobs to locals in Gwadar and good education to our children, but are also making local women financially independent,” Abdullah said.

She said in the next step, they would stitch uniforms for Chinese companies and a school built by them for locals in Gwadar. “Women in Gwadar are very talented, but they did not have any platform to show their skills. There are several vocational training institutes to teach basic stitching skills to women, but the centre is the first of the kind to provide an opportunity to skilled women to generate income in an organised way,” she said.

Most of the women at the centre are not much educated, but have big dreams to do something for themselves and their families. Joining the centre has helped their dreams come true, she said, and added that working on modern machines would also enhance their skills.

COPHC Chairman Zhang Baozhong said the tailoring centre was also a starting point for the COPHC to build a complete textile industry chain covering textile printing, garment designing and making in Gwadar to let the locals benefit from industrial development.

“So far, some Chinese and Pakistani textile enterprises have expressed their willingness to cooperate with our tailoring centre to provide technological training and management support, and order our products,” he said.

To make daily commute convenient, the centre was providing free pick up and drop off services. Local people and public representatives said the tailoring centre is a “big step” for women empowerment in the area, which would act as a source of motivation for others.

“Gwadar is a small area. Here everyone knows each other. The few women going out of their homes in traditional dress in good vehicles and coming back home in time are the role models for others to follow and make a mark in the society,” Majid Sohrabi, former mayor of Gwadar said


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