The province of Balochistan is unique in its geo-political significance. It forms 44% of Pakistan’s landmass and has a 770-km long coast line. It consists of arid basins and various hill ranges, sharply marked off from the Indus plain by the kirther and sulaiman ramparts. It exhibits a great variety of physical features, consisting of vast rocky desert with extremes of climate and very low rainfall.

Balochistan is famous for handicrafts skills where a variety of colourful handicrafts in embroidery and needlework are designed in different areas. The art of handicrafts in Balochistan has survived since old ages without undergoing any scientific and industrial advancement. The handicraft work is common in the rural areas where females having learnt the handicraft skills are actively engaged in sewing them to raise a livelihood for their families.

The needlework in Balochistan contains different designs and techniques. It varies from place to place and tribe to tribe. The handicrafts are famous for their beautiful and sophisticated designs. A variety of needlework designing, sold in expensive boutiques and crafts shops, show sale value in national and international markets.

A list of initiatives undertaken by AHAN in Balochistan is as follows:

PROJECT/ PRODUCT

LOCATION

   
 
 
Women Empowerment through Marble Mosaic: Quetta  
Support Market Oriented Self-help Groups in  Killim skill: Slums Quetta  
Support Market Oriented Self-help Group in Churma / Khamak Embroidery: Slums Quetta  
Hazargi Cross Stitch Women Enterprise Development: Quetta  
Niarie-Taa-Hunar in Balochi Embroidery: Mastung  
Balochi Embroidery & Mirror work project: Bolan  
Qubtamar Stitch Project: Rural / Urban Quetta  
Leather Embroidery Bala Nari: Bolan  
Pashtoon Galabatoon and Pokhtak as Bridal & Party wears: Loralai  
Skill Development of 125 working youth in Stone Cutting, Carving and Polishing: Rural / Urban Quetta  
Carpet from Hazara Community: Quetta  
Enterprise Development through Zurato and Mausam embroidery: Quetta  
Marble Mosaic training at Hub: Hub  
Market linkage development for Balochi Embroidery Bhag Nari: Bolan  
Market linkage development for Qubtamar Stitch: Rural / Urban Quetta  
Market linkage development for Balochi leather embroidery: Bolan  
Market linkage development for Balochi Zari work in Bala Nari: Bolan  
Women Empowerment through training of  Marble Mosaic handicraft training activity: Quetta  
Balochi Embroidery on Apparel Project Kechi Baig Quetta: Quetta  
Leather Embroidery Project Sibi: Sibi  
Balochi Khont Project Khuzdar: Khuzdar  
Pashtoon Zari mirror work Project Ziarat: Ziarat  
Turkmen Gillim Project Killi Kamalo, Quetta: Quetta  
Pashtoon Khamak Project Hazara Town – Quetta: Quetta  
Balochi Chappal Project Quetta: Quetta  
Empowerment of Women through Training in Galabatoon, Beadwork and Carpet Weaving, in collaboration with UNDP-RAHA Programme Balochistan Pishin  
Women Economic Development through Skill Enhancement Training Programme at Rural Community Center Pishin, In collaboration with UN-Women / Social Welfare Department Balochistan Pishin  
Development of Local Artisan’s skill and its utilization for protection of Endangered & Threatened Species of Balochistan in Pakistan, in collaboration with World Wide Fund (WWF) for Nature: Quetta  

 Success Stories / Projects

1. Hassan – Leather Embroidery, Lehri – Sibi1

In Pakistan, Lehri Sibi is the exclusive hub of Leather Embroidery. A limited number of artisans work in remote villages, most of them traditionally linked with businesses. Many artisans have learnt these skills from their parents and forefathers. They chiefly prepare embroidered Chappals, Wallets etc and sell them to local shops and wholesalers. Though the profit earned is not enormous, it is adequate for sustenance. Lack of fashion consciousness, new designs, innovative color schemes, product development and business promotion skills is a bottleneck that constrain opportunities for business and development of these people.

AHAN is engaged in livelihood enhancement of these artisans. In year 2011, AHAN conducted a Skill Enhancement Training Program on leather embroidery. The seven month long training started in January 2011 and successfully generated new ideas in terms of designs, motifs, color schemes and products. AHAN supported successful trainees with marketing and financial linkages. Periodical visits by master trainer to the village were ensured to constantly improve the quality of production. To ensure market linkages, AHAN arranged for people who provide raw material at doorstep. AHAN also places orders and collects the products on a regular basis. AHAN has impanelled many customers and traders all across the country to ensure regular demand of embroidery on pure leather.2

Mr. Hassan, a poor leather-embroidery artisan, was linked with KO-ee shoe making company of Lahore during AHAN-SAARC Exhibition at Islamabad in February 2013. AHAN gave the innovative idea to the shoe-making company to incorporate hand-embroidery on pure leather in their handmade shoes. In the initial stages, the company involved these artisans in embroidery-work with new designs & color schemes for display in an exhibition by FN Platform Company in USA. The idea of incorporating traditional hand-embroidered leather into modern designs was highly appreciated there. The stall won the award of “Best Exhibitor”. This was the first time leather embroidery of ‘Lehri’ was introduced to international market. As a result, a huge production order of handmade embroidered shoes was received from an international company. Now Mr. Hassan and his cluster are engaged in fulfilling this lucrative production order from international market. Glimpses of success reflect from the faces of artisans who are leading a happy life with their families today.

 2. Marzia Khanom – Hazara, Quetta

Marzia Khanom lives in Hazara Town, a slum area in Quetta city. She lives in a poor family with eleven siblings and a disabled father. Till 2010, her mother embellished small pieces of Qabtomar & Pashtoon Khamak embroideries and sold them to neighbors. This was the only source of income for the family. Intrigued by the exquisite embroideries and neatness of her mother’s handwork, Marzia decided to learn these skills for supporting her family. She learnt the basics and became a helping-hand for her mother but still was unable to act as a catalyst for her family income generation.

Marzia got the opportunity to partake in AHAN’s pilot project of Skill Enhancement in Pashtoon Khamak Embroidery as a Master Trainer. Her contractual position earned her Rs.10,000 per month. That was her first experience of a salaried job and it boosted her family income. Marzia spent a year working in AHAN’s sponsored skill enhancement training program. This helped her learn the work and gave her the opportunity to succeed in her field.

Marzia pic in Khamak Project

While passing through AHAN’s training process, she learnt innovative colour schemes, proper embroidery motifs, pricing of products, importance of local embroidery, ways to organize & lead an artisan cluster and participation in exhibitions etc. Even after the training program, she continued leading the cluster and gained further experience. After the project, she received production orders from AHAN which served as fruitful sources of income generation. From 2011 to 2013, she also participated in several exhibitions with the support of AHAN.

With the continuing support of AHAN, Marzia Khanom also got a job as a Social Organizer in a reputable organization at a salary of Rs. 25,000 per month which will help her support her family.

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