Agriculture is the main source of income for the majority of the rural population in Pakistan. Due to the poverty cycle and greater risk attached to this field, people are often compelled to shift from one profession to another. During this livelihood transition strategy, one failed step could leave them under heavy debts. ACTED Pakistan decided to implement training programs to encourage access to education and economic opportunities.
Saad cannot help but laugh as he tells ACTED team the story of his transformation from a little helper in his family livelihood support system to a serial entrepreneur thanks to the training prgrams. Saad comes from a poor family of 10 people living in village Natho Rind, Union Council Seerani, District Badin. His father lost his leg to gangrene when Saad was in fourth grade.
The financial crisis and his father’s deteriorating health forced Saad to leave school and join his mother in the field. From a very tender age, he started working with his mother in the fields of a local Landlord. The daily minimum wage was not enough to feed the 10 family members. As a livelihood transition strategy, he then decided to drive neighbour’s Rickshaw to earn more.
Following the family tradition, his parents got him wed at a very early age when he used to earn Rs. 100-150 a day. Now that he got married and has children, the income is not enough to make ends meets.
ACTED Pakistan implemented the Adolescents & Adults Learning& Training Program. It aims to provide accelerated non-formal primary education for vulnerable adolescents and basic functional literacy for adults. The program also provides a certified Skill Development or Vocational Training course for each learner. ACTED along with Sindh Education Foundation’s, Government of Sindh flagship programme Adolescents & Adults Learning& Training Program (AALTP) in Badin and Kashmore. The project is for those adolescents and adults who have missed or have never been to school earlier.
The program is run in two shifts (morning and evening) to cater for the needs of all learners who have other commitments or in income-generating activities in the morning. Saad earned his livelihood in the morning and enrolled in evening classes in Serani Centre and completed the basic literacy course. He then opted for mobile repairing training in the TVET programme.
Thanks to the mobile repairing skills and kit he received at the end of his training, he partnered with a local mobile shop in Seerani city. The owner of the shop sells mobile sets and accessories and employed Saad as his assistant. Saad started repairing damaged mobile sets as a value addition to the owner’s business. In turn, the business started giving additional profit so does Saad’s income.
I am now a role model for the youth of my village, I have not only established my enterprise but also engaged my father in a karyana shop (convenient store) who was hopeless for his future life.
Saad has now opened a small convenience store for his father in his village, where his father does not only spend good social life as well as earns a little for the family. Saad was also able to raised enough money to install a solar panel in his house as well as support his younger brother’s education.