VIRAGO WOMEN Shabana Rahu

Shabana, could you please tell us about yourself?

I am an enthusiastic, self-motivated, reliable, responsible and hard working person. I am a mature team worker and adaptable to all challenging situations. I am able to work well both in a team environment as well as using my own initiative. I am able to work well under pressure and adhere to strict deadlines. I started my career in 2008 in HANDS and am still working in the same organization. I have a Masters degree in Social Work and a Bachelor’s degree in education. I have different field experience; Gender and Development, WASH, Child Protection, Health and Research. I am also a good trainer of Early Childhood Development and Care, Non formal Education, WASH in School, Education in emergency, project Management and Gender and development.  Right now, I am working as District Executive Manager Karachi. My responsibilities are:

  • Team management
  • Project management
  • Reporting to HANDS Management and Donor
  • Coordination with Government and other Key Stakeholders
  • Participation in Partners Meeting
  • Project Implementation
  • Capacity Building

What is your stance on women empowerment?

Women have the right to choose her field, she has the right to get higher education. Even she has the right to choose her life partner on her own. Women are not Sinf e Nazuk – they are Sinf e Ahan so do not take her for granted. Women empowerment sets a direct path towards gender equality, poverty eradication and income generation opportunity. To empower women we should provide them different opportunities in different fields so they can earn themselves and be independent,  financially and otherwise.

According to your best knowledge, what would you say-what are some of the issues faced by women in Pakistan?

There are a lot of issues faced by women in Pakistan, some of which include;

  • Domestic violence
  • Women Trafficking
  • Early Marriages
  • No decision Power
  • Women Harassment
  • Acid victims
  • No share in property
  • Honor killing
  • No higher education same as men
  • Reproductive health issue
  • Nutrition issue
  • Family burden
  • Miscarriage
  • Accessibility issue with women PWDs
  • Sexual abuse with PWDs women at home and workplace
  • Dowry demand

How is your NGO working to combat these problems?

  • Dissemination of the key issues at National, provincial, district and community level
  • Celebration of 16 days of activism
  • Through awareness at community level
  • Through Seminars and Trainings of the key stakeholders
  • Formation of Small groups at community level to mitigate the issue.
  • Provision of different small business

Can you share your personal icons of empowered women and what sets them apart?

We have a group of women with disabilities at our independent living center that is located at Numaish Karachi. These women were very helpless and hopeless but after coming to the center they have trained on independent living, life skills and many other skills that help them to generate their income. We have also provided small businesses. livestock is the largest socio economic activity in rural areas adding status and prestige to the owners and making major contributions to their diet as well. Livestock refers to cattle, buffaloes, sheep, goats and poultry. In Pakistan, livestock activity is responsible for about half of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). We also provide them poultry, kitchen gardening not only provides fresh vegetables and fruits for the families but could also generate income from the sale of kitchen garden products.

What would you say to the VIRAGO girls?

My message to the VIRAGO Girls is that sisterhood is one of the strongest connections you will ever make in your life so fill your life with the presence of strong, powerful women and be one yourself. Cherish and empower the women in and around you. Be active in your community and give as much as you can but also don’t be afraid to ask – when needed.

 

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