Pakistan: Sanita, freelancer

Pakistan: Sanita, freelancer

Eighteen-year-old Sanita lives in a remote region in the north of Pakistan. A two-month IT training course helped her to get the qualifications she needed for a job with good future prospects. Now she can secure orders on her own through the internet. On behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), GIZ is assisting Pakistan in improving its vocational training sector. More than 100,000 men and women there have already improved their chances on the job market thanks to short-term training.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to become a doctor to help the people in my village. At that time, we did not have proper access to medical facilities. My father was always very concerned about my education, given that the illiteracy rate in our area is almost 100 per cent, especially amongst women. He never forced me or my brother to stay at home and work but encouraged us to study. Maybe that’s why I'm still so motivated to learn today.

Is an IT qualification an unusual professional path for a young woman to take in Pakistan?

It’s more common for women to do housework or work in the textile sector. But I wanted to try out something else. I heard about this vocational training programme that offered courses in information and communications technology – that was completely new for me and would enable me to earn much more money, too. Since I have to support my younger brother and pay for my studies myself, I decided to go for a short-term training course.

What does the training course involve and how have you benefited from it?

Training lasts two months. It is very practice-oriented. I have learned how to digitalise books and I’ve studied marketing. Thanks to the project, I know how I can use the internet and social media to my advantage. I posted my profile on various online platforms for freelancers which enabled me to win a few customers. I now work for a number of multi-national companies and get paid in dollars.

What was the biggest change in your life?

The biggest change concerns the village I come from in the north of Pakistan in the Gilgit-Baltistan region. We are cut off from the outside world throughout the entire winter because there is so much snow in the mountains here. But now with my laptop and the internet, I am connected not only to the rest of Pakistan but with the entire world and can even earn money in the process.

What does happiness mean to you?

I am happy to have enough money for myself and my brother and to be able to continue with my studies. That gives me a sense of satisfaction and makes me feel proud and grateful.

18-year-old Sanita is a self-confident young woman. With her laptop she is able to find work via the internet – a blessing given the remoteness of her village.

She happily passes on her positive experience and motivates other girls to follow in her footsteps and enrol on an IT course.

Online business is booming in the middle of the Karakorum Mountains in northern Pakistan, too. It’s all there: a fast internet connection, computers, electricity, expertise.

Web and graphic design, programming, software development, e-commerce, publishing and marketing – there are thousands of jobs out there on the internet.

The project aims to give women in the Gilgit-Baltistan region an opportunity to acquire basic IT knowledge so they can benefit from the global outsourcing trend.