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Farida Yasmeen“I am successfully managing a working group of 35 experienced embellishers who I link with different buyers and get orders from them,” says the emphatic 45-year-old, Farida Yasmeen.

A year ago, Farida was grappling with life’s misfortunes when she lost her husband in a suicide attack. Every year scores of people lose their lives in heinous attacks on communities leaving those who’re left behind without a sustainable source of income. Soon after, tragedy befell once again and Farida’s two children succumbed to diabetes. In an attempt to pick up the pieces, she migrated from Peshawar a few months ago, and now lives in Kanju Chowk, Mingora.

“It was at the start of 2012, when a team from LASOONA visited me and informed how the American People are helping the women embellishers of our area to establish small businesses and improve their incomes and lives, “Farida recalls.

The USAID Entrepreneurs Project, of which Farida is now a part of, links 300 Female Sales Agents, like herself, to diversified national markets, as well as train women embellishers on business management.

Like any smart, solution-oriented entrepreneur, Farida looks out for her fellow embroiders and regularly checks their work for quality.

“Nobody had ever thought of strengthening women embellishers beyond the provision of needles and threads. But here, USAID was helping us; from building our skills in different types of stitch work and colour combinations, to basics of business management; from instructing us on costing and pricing, to facilitating our meetings with different buyer and input suppliers. Today, as a result, my group’s earning has increased from Rs. 12,200 to Rs. 22,326!”

For some people, life’s obstacles become their catalysts for success. Farida’s work as a budding entrepreneur is finally paving way for a promising future.