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 (www.dgfk.de) 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.