Along dark green landscape, an smooth road brought me up to one of the loneliest but culturally rich part of the country. Visiting Tharparker- the beautiful desert was my long standing travel goal finally happens while exploring and capturing some scenic and un divulge side of mysteriously stunning place!
The desert Thar that buzzing with activity as people become engaged with cultivating the land as the dull, arid landscape transforms into a luscious green after rain. The peace and beauty that fells like diluted in the atmosphere of Thar is not just due to rain as the livelihood of Thari people depends on rainfall agriculture but the most stunning initial finding come across that prosperity and peace herald of Indigenous handy craft and traditional skill become instrument to achieve social-economic development of dwellers of Thar!
Today, Tharparker- the desert region has a high population of women engaged in embroidery activities, micro credit schemes to run their small enterprises for income generation. They are skilled, they embroider beautifully, and they know how to make their traditional craft into modern patterns. This is the truly prosperous side of desert Thar as what I found that how indigenous art and craft of Women of Thar become change agent towards achieving global sustainable development goals (SDGs) as well! The success story of initiative taken by social development organizations (NGOs) and government led development projects working with women groups as an example of participatory, collective and sustainable effort to accelerate women empowerment. The successful process of capacity building and inclusion of women in various aspects of empowerment through handy craft based income generation projects which turns to achieve roadmap towards SDGs.
Tharparker district , The desert region is a part of Mirpurkhas division of sindh province in Pakistan . The area is driest region of the country as the vast deserted area have extreme temperatures and stunted plant life. Desert people struggle to earn their livelihood as the options of source of income are very few in the region, This has had severe impact and influence of the natural environment of Thar. Due to poverty and hunger, the socio- economic condition of the region is vulnerable specially for women .
The hard-hitting territory of Tharparker of Pakistan makes the life of women even tougher, but the journey of development initiatives bring up remarkable and inspiring stories of achievement and progress for women of Thar. Since 1990 to 2016, Tharparker witness many development intervention on behalf of local, national, international NGOs and Government owned development programs. These initiatives of women empowerment programs are great source of bringing prosperity and uplift socio-economic condition of women in Tharparker. For women, embroidery and hand-made crafting activities played a prime role by contributing significantly to the household income. As far as income generation is concerned, desert folks usually prefer to do off-farm and non-farm activities like weaving, embroidery, spinning, dying, block-printing, woodwork and other handicrafts.
They are continuing with their indigenous and traditional embroidery and handy craft skills with the contemporary designs, colors emerging into modern fashion and updated clothing trends. Rural women artisan’s capability and improved socio – economic status in Tharparker thus tries to explore various layers of improved development indicators. Handy craft that emerge as a small scale enterprise has brought visible socio-economic changes in the lives of the poor women artisans. The social change in their communities, gender awareness and women’s equal status with men is quite visible. Rising sense of awareness and confidence and the feeling of ownership and equality among craft women as pursue her role of contributor of family income. Successively over a decade, taken Initiatives and interventions from development organizations and government –lead programs brings measurable and sustainable change. It is fascinating to see the women of the village are more aware about her capabilities, rights and worth. The indigenous skill and traditional craft that woman of Tharparker possess since ages becoming source to bring real change at grass root level and somehow ultimate consequential to improve indicators of achieving Sustainable development goals. They work to earn money for food, fodder and fuel in order to meet the daily demands of the lives of their families. They priorities to obtain education and health facilities for their families, addressing SDGs Goal number 3 and 4, their socio-economic conditions are improving, which means SDGs goals number 1 which is NO POPERTY, goal number 8 which is decent work and economic growth ,SDGs goal number nine which is industry, innovation and infrastructure and SDG goal number 10 which is reduce inequality are significantly addressed and improving indicators with the connection of sustainable development goals – a universal set of development agenda aimed to achieve by 2030 by all UN countries, Tharparker emerges as a progressive example leading to obtain some of indicators of SDGs accomplishment.
I would confidently establishes the fact that if women get opportunities, exposure, support system, mentoring and proper capacity building they can be the breadwinners, trendsetters, and change agents. And it found the fact in Thar that the Thari woman now speaks against discrimination, inequalities and motivate themselves to have a greater participation in decision-making, access to information, develop life skills and confidence to prevail and peruse entrepreneurship. The indigenous art and craft of women of Thar, become source of social change and by the time brings ultimate result to achieve universal set of development goals (SDGs) hopefully by 2030.
Tharparker pursuing this empowerment. Ahead of the dark blur of poverty, there is immense horizon of creativity of craft, local wisdom and hardworking. Thousands of women weave new ideas and patching their dreams into new horizon. I strongly believe that women have immense potential to lead the development agenda by utilizing her in-born and in-built traits. This is the right time to re-view, re-shuffle and re-bound development innervations in more consolidate form to explore hidden treasure of hope, prosperity and integrity of Tharparker.
About Samreen Khan Ghauri:
She is a Multi Media journalist, Researcher and development practitioner, passionate advocate for women rights, can be access on email@example.com & @samreen_ideas