This Tuesday, the Curriculum Development team, along with Saba and Zahra Sufi (who is heading Operations in Hafizabad), went to visit the training centre in Hafizabad. We set out from Lahore at 6AM and reached the village in about two hours. The first stop was for an amazing desi breakfast of eggs and parathas with achar – which Saba was raving about while we waited. The food definitely lived up to our expectations.

The training centre currently caters to 50 girls and women, who were hard at work when we arrived. The first task was to get the women’s, as well as the 3 trainers’ feedback on how skills development had been going so far. Next, we split up to talk to the women, individually or in small groups, and to ask them about themselves and how the BLISS experience had helped them. The purpose of the trip was to give us a chance, for the very first time, to interact with the very people we are attempting to help. By gathering data about the women’s backgrounds, income levels, health practices, and lifestyles we were able to better gauge their needs and interests which went a long way in helping us understand how exactly BLISS can help change their lives.

After the work part of the day was over, we spent some time talking and relaxing with everyone. All the women were very excited that we had come; they wanted to know all about the rest of the production cycle and who eventually bought the bags. They seemed to enjoy our company just as much as we enjoyed theirs. Some of them even invited us to stay for lassi and lunch and insisted that we come to visit them again.

Over the next few weeks, we will be working on developing a framework for two different kinds of curriculum for the women and girls in Hafizabad—one that caters to women who have never gone to school, and another for the semi-literate and literate women.

Hafsa and Narmeen, the Curriculum Development team