Let Me Introduce: Arshad
Arshad, usually called by her nickname Bebe, and her family live in the village of Darianwala located approximately six miles from the Indian border in Northeast Pakistan.
Arshad and her husband Mustaq have been working for Bunyaad for the past five years (since 2009). Prior to joining Bunyaad the family had been drifting from place to place in hopes of finding work that would support the entire family. As a woman working outside the home would not have been acceptable for Arshad and so the challenge of providing for the entire family rested on Mustaq’s shoulders.
How does a family in rural Pakistan make ends meet when jobs are scarce and mostly seasonal?
Arshad and Mustaq were encouraged to connect with Bunyaad because of their rug knotting skills. Since joining Bunyaad five years ago, life has changed quite a bit for the family. Arshad and Mustaq with their four daughters have moved into the Village Center in Darianwala which houses three looms and living quarters around a large courtyard.
Bunyaad pays all rug knotters
a fair and livable wage.
With the looms set up inside their home Arshad is able to work alongside her husband. Bunyaad pays all rug knotters a fair and livable wage. Arshad is now able to equally contribute to the family income.
The four daughters all attend the village school which was begun by proceeds from the artisan group Bunyaad. The girls are able to start dreaming about their own futures which has opened up different opportunities to them with the solid foundation of a good education.
Juggling Family, Household and Work
Just like any mother Arshad needs to balance family, household and work demands. With the loom set up in the home, Arshad’s life moves seamlessly between her job as rug knotter, caring for her daughters and maintaining her household. Arshad is able to choose how many hours she spends knotting each day while still attending to her family needs.
Since the village center houses several looms Arshad is also becoming a mentor to younger women learning the art of rug knotting and able to pass on her skills.