Pakistan, Asia

PAK01 - Sewing Centres: Partnership Reports

Other Reports Available:

Print friendly version

Back to Partnership

Report Date: May 17, 2022

Report from BHW Pakistan Partnership Facilitator 

Recent Events


This partnership has been in place since 2008 when it began in Bara Kau, a suburb of Islamabad. Over the ensuing years the sewing programmes have shifted to other locations as Azam Gill moved around consolidating Christians into little groups. Groups were formed in Rawat, Wazir and out to areas around Toba Tek Singh, Faisalabad and Gojra. In each of these places multiple groups have been organised, dozens of women have been trained and many have become self-sustaining in their families, either working from home and some in sewing factories. You can check these out in the partnership codes under PAK01.  

Alongside this, several adult literacy classes have been run as it was discovered that many of the people involved and their family members could not read. (See partnerships and reports under PAK05.)

By 2019, four courses per year were being run around the Faisalabad area but it was taking a toll on Azam as he was overseeing them.  

graduatingIn 2020 it was decided that we needed to rationalise the programme and take some pressure off Azam. He was keen to run four at a time, but he was struggling to deliver the programmes and do the follow-up required. At that stage, all the different partnerships coded under the PAK01 code were combined under PAK01 and it was rebooted in late 2020 with two courses in two villages near Toba Tek Singh. 


One course was held in Village #304 JB, Kathoor, near Gojra city and a second in Village #281 JB, "Dua-kharhi," 40km from Faisalabad, towards Gojra City and Toba Tek Singh Rd. In both villages there are more than 100 women wanting to be trained but only a few were selected by the village leaders. Both villages are very poor, and Village #304 JB is near a brick kiln in which most of the adults and many of the children are bonded labourers.  

gratefulVillage #304 JB 
Mrs Shakeela, a Christian woman, is the tutor and she proved to be a very capable trainer. The students made great progress and there were few issues. There were 15 students in total and 10 graduated with certificates and received sewing machines. There are several photos of them at their graduation in September 2021. There have been some delays due to Covid and people being sick.  

Village #281 JB
This was not a happy situation. The original tutor left and another was appointed who proved to be overbearing. This caused several disputes between the tutor and students, and despite several attempts to resolve it, she could not/would not change her attitude. So, after several stoppages, the programme ceased after 8 months. No certificates or machines were handed out in this village but the sewing machines for distribution are stored and available for the next project. 


Partnership's Influence within the Community 

special dayThe programme in Village #304 JB has had a good impact. Several of the women have been able to get employment in a garment factory in Faisalabad, earning over US$200 per month. This is by far the largest contributor to the income of these families. Others are using their machines at home and generating a small income but also making clothes for the family which is quite a large saving for a family.  

Even those from Village #281 JB have benefitted although they did not fully complete the programme. A lot of learning was done by the women, the Christian leaders in the village and Azam.


Ideas for the Future

As long as we get reports, we plan to do a couple of these each year as they are of great value. If Azam was able to report more effectively and had more capacity, we could do more. 

Two more are on the table and ready to go. They are: 

Village #322 JB (Shazada) 
keen for another courseSeveral courses have been run in this village in the past, the last one 4-5 years ago. In 2017 BHW also supported the establishment of a small clothes making and selling business which has not gone well. The training in this village this time has two objectives: 1) to teach some more women to sew and 2) to bring together some of those who have been trained previously to give further training with the intention of rebooting the business. 

The tutor is Sana Bibi who has previously done the training here and in some other nearby villages. In total about 20 women will be involved in the programme. Those learning for the first time will be involved for 9 months and the others for 3 months and then the business will commence again. 

This is a large village with around 5,000 families but only about 35 Christian families. This programme will be mainly for the women of Christian families. The budget for this course is US$1,850.

Village #153 GB (Khusran)
new villageThis village is about 20 kms from Shazada and Azam knows it well. This is a new village for a programme like this and the people are very keen to have a course. There are about 5,000 Muslim families in the village and about 100 Christian families. The women had heard about the programme in Shazada and were requesting that it be run in their village. The church in that village is very supportive of the programme.  

Azam would like to run two courses in two years. There are other opportunities for ministry in the village as well including adult education and literacy. The budget here will be US$1,350 as they already have the sewing machines from the failed programme last year.


Current Issues and Challenges

special dayThere are no major issues around this, probably the main one is Azam's ability to get out to the villages to oversee the programme and do the follow-up required. 

It is very hard for Azam to provide written reports of the quality we require, especially stories about the beneficiaries. He doesn't live in the villages, so he does not know the people well.

The failure of one project in 2021 does highlight the difficulty of running these projects. They are dependent on having the right people on the ground. Being from an honour/shame culture makes it very difficult to tell the full reason for an issue and to confront it in a village. 


Prayer and Praise Points 

special day1) That families have been blessed and encouraged by this training and that the women have all gained a great deal more confidence by being trained. For many of them it is the first time they have achieved anything and been recognised for it in their lives. 

2) That the two proposed projects will operate well and that many will be helped and encouraged by them. 



It is hard to get a handle on the impact until we can get there again which we are planning to do in mid-2023. At that time, we need to spend some time interviewing those who have been beneficiaries of the programme.  

Azam wants to do four at a time, but we cannot fully comprehend the insufficient reports we get from him with just doing two so, only two will be approved at a time. I think it is worth hanging in there with this, but no more than two courses per year.