Neetu Dilesh was overjoyed when Caritas Pakistan Karachi
told her she was among 20 women to be supported to run her own business. She started earning 4,000 rupees (US$36) a month during her training and could afford to send her two daughters to school to begin their education. "It was a dream for me to get my daughters, aged five and seven, to go to school but due to the hand-to-mouth income of my husband, it was not possible," Dilesh said. "I heard about this training by Caritas and I joined to learn the cutting and stitching of clothes. During the four months of training, I started stitching clothes. "I am happy Caritas gave me a sewing machine with a motor. Now I will be able to work more effectively and earn more to support my husband and children." The Karachi chapter's Livelihood program
launched an entrepreneurship project with the slogan "Empower Women, Empower Pakistan" and trained 240 women and young girls from November 2017 until February 2018.
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Coordinator Samina Maqbool said: "The training included candle making, handicrafts, jewellery making, block printing, screen printing, foil work, cutting and stitching, dress design and fashion design. We also trained them to bake cakes and make Easter eggs and Christmas and other Easter items." Maqbool is an entrepreneur and runs a home-based business making candles. Elizabeth Pervez was also chosen by Caritas to receive a sewing machine. "I am fully supporting my husband. Through my earnings of around 10,000 rupees, I pay my utility bills, school fees for my children and part of the house rent. I am grateful to Caritas for supporting me," she said. "We are migrants from Punjab and renting a house in a city like Karachi is not an easy thing. We were only able to fulfill our basic needs. I am enjoying my work and feel good that we are also able to save a bit for the future of my children." Caritas Pakistan Karachi has given training to 625 people in the past year, helping them to run their own businesses or to get jobs in factories. Executive secretary Mansha Noor
said Caritas was working to help people living below the poverty line. "I have seen the actual conditions of these people and most of them are very poor. After finishing their training, we take them to factories in our Caritas vans to make sure they get jobs," she said. "It is God's grace that many factory owners listen to us and give respect to us and our good work. I am happy that we have seen changes in the lives of the people." Father Anthony Ibraz of St. James' Parish said he had seen the passion of Caritas staff. "With love, they are serving not only Christians but Hindus and Muslims too."