Haji Bibi is a resident of Gojal Hunza. She works with handicrafts. She faced so many challenges when her husband’s travel agency closed down after 9/11. Her children were very bright students and to continue their education, she had to take a loan from a local bank. She worked day in and day out, in fields, sold dry fruits, and it took her years to pay back the entire loan.
She had to start something to survive after the crises of 9/11. That affected thousands of small businesses. It’s then when she started working on handicrafts that helped her to bear her family’s household expenses. Started from a small room from her own house, she managed to start a company and which she called ‘Silk route handicrafts’. The company employs differently-abled women of the region, orphan women and women is dire need. The company meant more work, more struggle. This time, it was not just her, but a group of people, who she was trying to empower.
The work was intensive. Being in the region with no road access, away from the city centers, it was hard to bring in the raw material. Selling the final product was even a bigger challenge. Growing the business meant access to new unexplored markets. Accessing to more people, which was physically impossible at this stage of her business.
It is said that when you want something with all your heart, the universe will conspire to reach it. WoMart project helped Haji Bibi get access to market, from her house. She was trained on e-commerce and marketing. She was given a smart phone and the necessary training to learn how to use it for business.
She is ecstatic that, her world just opened up. The physical barriers seem to not matter anymore.