Assessing the hidden potential of youth, Rupani Foundation initiated a well-structured marketable skill development program to capitalize on youth potential. In selection of the youth, female candidates were prioritized and encouraged. RF introduced vocational trainings on gems cutting and polishing, jewelry making, digital skills and stone masonry with the aim to equip youth with skills that are in accordance with market demand. This endeavor would also help to explore and utilize locally available resources.
The major goals of these interventions are:
- Alleviate poverty
- Supports training, skills development & entrepreneurship
- Create job opportunities
- Reduce labour market disparities
- Support economic competitiveness
In Pakistan, 120 million population is under 25 years of age and 32% of youth are illiterate and majority are dropouts. This program of RF aims at providing this lot with the skills so that they can play a fruitful role in the growth of society in particular and country in general. RF is first ever organization in the Gilgit-Baltistan to transfer technology in gems sector in the farflung areas for optimal use of local resources. Technology plays and integral role in the value addition of raw material as the finished products can easily be marketed and the rate of return is much higher in the finished products. Due to lack of technology major bulk of artisans in gems sector face difficulties in manufacturing the finished product, which leads to imbalance in terms of economies of scale. Considering the potential in skill development RF intervened in this sector through transfer of technology and technical knowledge to generate revenue stream for the local artisans and entrepreneurs. Lack of professional networks in this sector also hampered in promoting the investment opportunities at the policy level resulting in lack of policies and underinvestment. In order to fill this gap, RF established Pakistan Gems and Jewellery Corporation to support and promote this industry to increase opportunities and adding to national exchequer. RF has also established regional organization to promote skill development in the regional level as well. Hunza Gems and Mineral Association (HGMA) and Nagar Gems and Mineral Association (NAGMA) has been established to provide support mechanism to artisans and entrepreneur in these regions.
The major two components of skill development portfolio are gems cutting and polishing and stone masonry.
Gems Cutting and Polishing (1)
Following its objective of creating economic opportunities for the marginalized communities, particularly women and youth of GBC, Rupani Foundation has started to contribute in this sector by establishing and running gem cutting and polishing centers, gems testing and identification facility in Gilgit-Baltistan. The region of Gilgit-Baltistan has some of the best precious stones that are usually mined and sold through conventional methods. In addition, miners lack technical skills and tools for value-addition. Locals are usually underpaid for their effort due to low quality of mining and polishing. To address this issue and increase the value-addition, RF introduced professional training in mining and polishing of precious and semi-precious stones. Concurrently, polishing centres were established in various locations of GB, run by professionally trained craftsmen. In this project both male and females were encouraged to engage in trainings. Under the program, RF has trained 1,055 individuals in Gems Cutting and Polishing, 170 in Bead Making, 220 in Stone Carving and 400 in Jewellery Making.
In these centres, artisans learned skills of gems polishing and jewelry designing. RF also developed a contextualized Gems Cutting Training manual to assist prospective and current professionals in gems and cutting sector. With the success in Gilgit region, RF further expanded its program in Chitral to include the youth of marginalized segments of society. In collaboration with Aga Khan Rural Support Programme (AKRSP), USAID and European commission, RF has established 15 gems cutting centres across Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral and trained 1076 youth. RF trained and skilled artisans have successfully opened up their own business and some of them have assumed mentorship roles. RF also developed contextual manuals in the gems cutting and polishing to document the artisanal activities and promote the gems cutting and polishing potential to wider audience beyond borders.
Digital Skill (2)
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Teachers Trainings in ECCE (3)
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Training in Stone Masonry (4)
With Gems and Jewelry intervention, RF simultaneously initiated a training program in stone masonry for the less educated and under privileged youth of mountainous communities in Pakistan. In Northern parts of Pakistan, conventional techniques of construction are common practice. Normally, buildings are usually constructed with stone and clay materials that usually fail to resist torrential rains and flooding. With introduction of sustainable construction practices and contemporary construction skills, RF contributed in creating youth market value. This initiative not only enriched their capacities but also opened new income generating opportunities for youth. Under the mentorship of seasoned and skilled craftsmen, incumbents learned the techniques and practices of masonry. Thinking ahead, RF also formed association of masons as to build linkages among the individuals in this trade, and bring them under the umbrella of the government’s recognized labor associations. RF has also developed first ever contextual Stone Masonry Training Manual in this regard.
Rupani Foundation as part of its skill development program has implemented the Project, “Training in Stone Masonry in Gilgit-Baltistan”, aiming to support labor markets through structured trainings in stone masonry with improvised tools and techniques. This programme was funded by TVET Reform Support Programme, co-funded by the European Union, the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Federal Republic of Germany and implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH in Pakistan.
RF has introduced the new technology in the construction industry in Gilgit-Baltistan and established first labour association. Improved technology helped in reducing the risks associated with the natural disasters such as earth quakes and floods. RF has trained 1350 individuals across Gilgit-Baltistan, majority of trainees have started working as entrepreneurs while some became master trainers who are replicating the knowledge and skill to next generations.