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Rehana Sheedi's tale is an inspirational anecdote for women all over Pakistan. Hailing from Badin, a small town in interior Sindh, Sheedi belongs to a poor family where she has five dependents. She had dreamt of a happy life after marriage, but her dreams were quashed when she was married off to an unemployed local man. For the first few years, Rehana led a deprived life. As much as she wanted to do something for her family, she faced fierce resistance from her family. In her conservative community, females were not expected to step out of their houses to pursue economic activities.

With increasing expenditures, growing children and an unrelenting family, Rehana borrowed a sewing machine from a relative and started to stitch clothes for females in her neighbourhood. This proved to be the starting point of an enterprise that Rehana eventually built up and now generates revenue up to PKR 30,000 every month.

As Rehana started receiving consistent orders, she bought her own machine. In 2010, on the advice of a neighbour, Rehana took her first loan from KMBL. Her first big order was from a local school to stitch the school's uniforms. Beginning from one machine, Rehana now has a small home-based stitching unit with five machines where three local girls are employed. Moreover, she has also associated her widow sister with her business to help her earn her own money as well.

Stories like Rehana's are unheard of in her part of the country. Not only did she start earning on her own, but also helped her husband and brother-in-law to set-up a shop and assist her in managing the business. They purchase raw material from the market and also act as salespersons and bring in new orders.

Rehana's three children go to good schools in the area. Her family's living standard has improved considerably. Most important of all, Rehana's struggle has helped changed the mindsets of people around her. Many families now send their daughters to her for learning stitching.

They hope that one day their daughters and sisters will also be as successful as Rehana. Strong females like Rehana are sowing the seeds of change and prosperity in parts of Pakistan that were previously considered closed and conservative. Rehana is now planning to expand her business and employ more females. She is hopeful that with continued support from Khushhali Microfinance Bank, she will be able to open her own boutique outlet in the near future. KMBL wishes her all the very best in her future endeavours and is proud to provide a stepping stone to capable individuals like Rehana.



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