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Entertaining and compelling real-life stories. The author is successful business, real estate, and media entrepreneur Dick Kazan.
Published on January 30th, 2018
Khalida Brohi: Empowering Pakistani Women

Khalida Brohi
Khalida Brohi
Photo: zeitgeistminds.com

In Pakistan, a country of 207 million people, women have few rights, are often uneducated, and as childern can be pledged into marriages by their families, sometimes even with adult men.

For some girls who don’t comply with these marriages, there are “Honor Killings,” often conducted by their fathers or brothers or uncles.

After one of her friends was murdered in an Honor Killing, then 16-year-old Khalida challenged this ancient practice.

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She and some other young women rallied on the streets to end Honor Killings, it brought little change in a male dominated society.

Then one day her father got a computer for his eight children and Khalida discovered Facebook, as she began making connections with women across Pakistan and all over the world.

As a result, the women’s rallies grew larger, but still there was no significant change. That is until at age 18, Khalida began to understand why.

“We were standing against core values of people,” practices even many women accepted.

Khalida apologized to those her rallies offended, and began persuading them not to have Honor Killings and to educate women, to make them more productive.

Because some of these poor women made embroidery for sale, Khalida opened village centers to create larger markets for their embroidery and also to educate them.

Khalida Brohi
Khalida Brohi at a Sughar Center
Photo: sugharfoundation.blogspot.com

At first, some men objected.

To overcome their objections, Khalida created village centers called “Sughar Hubs,” (Sughar means skilled and confident women) to produce and sell more embroidery, and added clothing lines as well, to generate substantial family income.

This income became attractive to many male heads of households.

In the Sughar Hubs women are now taught a variety of skills and after six-months, they can apply for loans as they become entrepreneurs, producing their own fashions.

Khalida Brohi
Pakistani woman at a Sughar Hub
Photo: globalgiving.org

It is still early in the process, but currently there are 900-women in Sughar Hubs in 24-villages.

Khalida, now 29, set-up the Sughar Foundation in the U.S. to raise money to open more Hubs.

Her dream is to eventually have one million women participating in these Hubs, which may seem impossible, but then not long ago, everything in this story seemed impossible.

Editor's Note: There is far more to this remarkable story. To listen to Khalida tell it in a TED Talk, click here. To learn more about Khalida, click here and here. To visit Khalida on her Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/kbpakistan/. To learn more about the Sughar Foundation, click here.

In the next KazanToday: A woman determined to educate girls in Afghanistan.

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