Poverty, a lack of education, and restrictions on mobility mean that few young women in rural Pakistan work outside their homes.
Sameen Batool has overcome these limitations and won respect in her community by building a flourishing plant nursery business that employs six other women.
Sameen credits a British Council programme called Active Citizens with giving her the confidence and skillset to develop her social enterprise as a way to create ‘socially acceptable’ jobs for women.
She started her social enterprise on a shoestring budget in her backyard in 2013, but has since moved into a neighbouring enclosed lot. Thanks to contracts supplying bigger nurseries and Pakistan’s Department of Agriculture she plans to expand yet again, with a view to generating more income and more job opportunities for women.
As a result, says Sameen, ‘my community now have faith in me. I have developed my confidence [and] I can deal with all types of people.’
Sameen is one of 60,000 people in Pakistan who have received training through Active Citizens.