“I studied with the aim that I would earn income for myself and my family one day. But after completing my education, I got married. My husband was a government servant. Even after marriage, I had the idea that by doing a job, I would help with household expenses so that we could afford good schooling for our children. But unfortunately, there was no support for a girl’s employment, so I was not allowed to do so. My dreams were sacrificed to customs.
Then after several years, the Snow Leopard Foundation (SLF) started working in our village to conserve snow leopards under its Pakistan Snow Leopard and Ecosystem Protection (PSLEP) project. One day my father-in-law came from a meeting of the organization and said that SLF wanted to offer honeybee-keeping training to the women of our village. At first, I wasn’t interested because I had no experience in honeybee-keeping, nor had anyone in our area kept honeybees before. We did not know the benefits yet.
A couple of days later, the president of our community organization came to speak to my father-in-law about the SLF’s training. The president said this training aimed to empower the women of our village and provide income-generation opportunities to them. He said it would greatly benefit us. Our daughters will get an opportunity to earn for themselves. This will increase household income.
When he talked about income and earnings, I saw a way to fulfill my dream. Soon, 40 women in my village were enrolled in beekeeper training. I immersed myself, so I could understand everything thoroughly. In the week of training, we learned the methods of honeybee-keeping. Not long after, we each received our very own box of honeybees.
I took great care of the bees. Initially, it was very tough, but with time, I became used to handling them. Now two years later, I have grown my one box of bees into eight! Last year, after fulfilling our household needs and giving gifts to relatives, I sold the remaining 8 kg of honey and earned Rs. 9,600. This year, I sold 20 kg of honey and earned about Rs. 30,000.
By the grace of Allah, I am now earning income for myself and my family while still maintaining my home according to our customs. I am helping improve our living standard and providing better health and education for my children.
SLF helped me achieve my dream of earning and supporting my family, for which I am very grateful. This is my story. It is also the story of most of the women who received training. Today, they are all earning income from honeybee keeping. I know that this is also the dream of hundreds of women who do not have such opportunities.
We are receiving these benefits because of the importance of wildlife conservation. We are now motivating the community women to protect the wildlife in our area. I wish all women could have the opportunity I have been given.”
To get more inspiring stories like this and hear all the latest snow leopard updates from the field, sign up for our monthly E-News here.
Special Thanks to: Seneca Park Zoo