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November 21, 2020

Behbud sustained itself and achieved social impact

Islamabad

November 21, 2020

Rawalpindi : As a second wave of coronavirus in Pakistan worries decision makers, the most worried appear to be those whose livelihoods are at risk, in case the government goes for a lockdown.

Senior vice president of Pakistan’s oldest NGO, Behbud, an organisation, which works towards women’s economic says, “Even in the first complete lockdown, Behbud struggled to remain on its feet, but to our credit we did not fire a single person, though our cafes and boutique had to close doors”.

“It is through their hard work and dedication that Behbud has sustained itself and achieved real social impact.

Today, Behbud stands as one of the biggest and perhaps the only self-sustainable non-profit in Pakistan, run by all women volunteers.

Behbud, she says, had to resort to innovative ways during the lockdown and this saw workers turning to producing face masks, some with intricate embroidery, a trademark of Behbud.

“Even earlier when the government banned plastic bags, Behbud was the first NGO to produce cloth bags which flew off the shelves in our boutiques because at that time cloth bags were not easily available”, she remembers.

Behbud was founded, in a home garage with a few sewing machines and a group of passionate volunteers, to help the widows of the war of 1965.

“The model became so successful that soon it was turned into a national non-profit, with chapters in all major cities of Pakistan”, says Abida.

For over half a century, she adds Behbud has been faithfully working towards the economic empowerment of women from the most overlooked communities in Pakistan, plus providing education for their children and basic health facilities for the family.

Behbud not only prides itself as a self-sustainable entity, but also as an ethically-driven fashion brand which benefits both its home-based workers and Pakistani society”, points out Abida.

Till date, Behbud has trained approximately 300,000 women and currently employs more than 5,000 home-based workers in traditional needlework at its Industrial Home in Rawalpindi.