This line of thinking is just as relevant today as it was many centuries ago. Helping someone by providing them with money or food or shelter – although commendable – is not a long-term solution. By providing someone in need with the means to earn a living not only enables them to provide for themselves but it also has a positive effect on their morale and self-esteem.
Shumaila Naaz is a professor in the Management Sciences department of the
University in . Shumaila teaches a course on community
development which includes an end-of-semester project that students need to
complete to pass the course. Lahore
To help her students gain a better understanding of how their efforts – no matter how small – to make their communities a better place to live can have far reaching effects, Shumaila organised an Active Citizens training workshop with the help of Chanan Development Association (CDA) – an Active Citizens partner.
After they were done with the training, a group of her students came up with a formal plan to help women in
earn a living and
provide for their families. Their proposal? To raise money to fund the purchase
of sewing machines for the women of Green
Town . Green
The women selected by the group fall into certain categories: women who are widowed; women who are divorced; and women whose spouses live with disability.
The proposed project also had a personal significance for one of the members who has lived in
for more than 11 years but has
never lost hope for better days for his community. Green Town
The students were able to raise Rs. 75,000 by reaching out to donors with the help of a well thought-out project proposal and an effective communications campaign which included the distribution of pamphlets, and a door-to-door campaign. With these funds they purchased 17 sewing machines.
To ensure that the sewing machines would not be resold the group members attached a condition with their distribution: the women who would receive the machines would pay a fee of Rs. 250 to the group each month. In this way the recipients would gain ownership of the sewing machines and through the fees collected the group would be able to finance more sewing machines for other deserving candidates. In short a win-win situation.
A distribution ceremony for the machines was arranged by the group at a local high school of
A large number of the residents attended the event and praised the Active
Citizens for coming up with this clever yet simple plan to strengthen a
community that gave its members the tools to be more self-reliant. Green Town