Strengthening the position of women through handicrafts

The objective of the women’s cooperative is to give women an independent source of income through the production of traditional hand-made dolls. Part of the money they receive goes towards improving village infrastructure and health and hygiene conditions.

At the invitation of a Pakistani student, Dr Senta Siller travelled to his home village. The design teacher noticed that the village had a lively tradition of doll-making. She offered practical help in setting up the cooperative and especially in selling the dolls, initially in diplomatic circles and then later via an online shop ( and doll shops.

As time went by, the project grew (around 120 women now work up to four hours a day, generating an income for the cooperative of around 2,000 euros per month). The women’s self-confidence also grew, and with it their desire for education, better infrastructure and a greater say in matters.
Thus courses in English and bookkeeping were organised and the water supply and sewage disposal systems were improved, thus raising health standards.
The cooperative distributes 30% of what it earns to the women as income, spends 30% on materials and puts 30% towards improving the village infrastructure and 10% towards healthcare.

Spurred on by the women’s initiative, a few things have been happening in the village:
A boy’s school had to be built before a girl’s school (there was no messing the men around).
A training centre for adolescent boys was opened, where they could learn manual skills while making toys.

Training in agriculture was given so that harvests could be improved.