Projects for Peace: The Vision of Kathryn W. Davis

"My challenge to you is to bring about a mind-set of preparing for peace, instead of preparing for war."

Women Empowerment Center

Project #
Bennington College
  • Muhammad Haroon

Women Empowerment Center

On the plains of Punjab, Muhammad Haroon created a village community and education center, leasing a building and spending June renovating and repairing it, buying new furniture, and hiring the first of two teachers. Villagers volunteered to help. When the center opened, it offered local women lectures in health education, classes in adult literacy, and skills development in sewing and embroidery.

The course in skills development drew strong interest. The adult literacy offering did not, so Muhammad redirected the teacher he had hired for adult education to offer free tutoring to students in grades 6-10. Demand for that was so high that, with help from his family, he hired another teacher. Some 52 students enrolled for tutoring, more than twice the targeted number.

The center plans to continue offering the sewing and embroidery class as a three-month course, for 15 female students at a time. Ten students who completed the first cycle will be selected, Muhammad said, to each receive a grant equal to $50 U.S., plus receive training in financial management and business practices.

Muhammad also reached out to an NGO, the Bunyaad Foundation, which he says will be “an intermediary between the women making handicrafts and the commercial market in the cities.” He supplemented his PfP grant with $700 from his college’s Field Work Term office, and plans to stay in contact with the teachers and community leaders as the Women Empowerment Center continues its work.