Media Campaign

To increase the visibility of home based workers and their issues, advocate for national policies for home based workers in Pakistan and strengthen the grassroots and particularly the membership based organizations of home based workers in Pakistan, a Media Campaign by the HomeNet Pakistan has been launched as an advocacy tool. Especially in the current scenario when the draft policy has been handed over to the Ministry of Women’s Development and Ministry of Labor. The media campaign will augment the policy endorsement process by building consensus amongst the stakeholders and bringing the issue into attention. Various activities will be implemented to raise awareness on HBW policy issues during 2011.

Seminar on sharing of the findings of Gender Based Analysis

HomeNet Pakistan arranged a seminar on sharing of the findings of Gender Based Analysis of “the Informal Sector, Social Protection and the State Budget” on October 8, 2010. The purpose of arranging this seminar was to analyze the state budget 2010-2011 and to ponder on how to use this budget for the informal sector (especially the HBWs) that is increasingly growing in our country.

Objective of the Meeting

  • to highlight the contribution of the informal sector in the national GDP
  • to create awareness on the negligence of state in distribution of resources
  • to highlight involvement of the HBWs in the economy
  • to highlight the issues of HBWs

Proceeding of the Meeting

Ume Laila Azhar (Executive Director HNP) welcomed the guests and the participants.

Salman Abid (Regional Director SPO) talked on ¡°Common Problems with Budgets of Developing Countries¡±. He enlightened the participants on the challenges that our economy is facing due to the budget allocations.

Salman Abid further added that in our country the size of non-development expenditures is more than the development expenditures and as the non-development expenditures are growing poverty, huger, lack of education and health problems are increasing.

Dr. Qais Aslam, an economist, discussed ¡°Advocating for Gender Sensitive Budget___ Engaging the Legislature and Executives¡±. According to the article 3 that speaks about the Elimination of exploitation: The state shall ensure the Elimination of all forms of exploitation and the gradual fulfillment of the fundamental principle from each according to his ability to each according to his work¡± but it lacks implementationHe discussed that there is no participation of women in the national life in any of the South Asian women. Even then we see the least participation of women in Pakistan. The state gives least attention to the social justice issues that take as long time as 27years time to resolve.

Then Rubina Saigol (Gender Expert) started her discussion on ¡°the informal Sector, Social Protection and the Budget: A Gender Perspective¡±. (She completed her study before the flood, so that should be kept in mind while concentrating the preferences presented in the study.)

The HBWs do not come in the ambit of labor laws as they are not considered as labors. Thus there are no medical and social facilities for them. Their source of income is insecure. No holiday, no limitation of working hours, no regulation of work.

As the informal increased, the formal sector increased and it is in some ways ¡°neo-liberal colonization¡±. There is 75% to 80% informal sector in the world and in Pakistan the range of informal sector is 73% and the women participation is maximum in Pakistan. And out of these labors 3/4 are earning lesser than 1500 rupees per month.

Informalization is increasing due to industrialization and the capitalist is taking the greater share in the profit. Informalization is a way of getting cheap labor.

Comparison of Rates

1 Filling match boxes(1000) (Rs)4.00 85.00 26 1
2 Making inner of match boxes 9.00 225.00 26 4
3 Putting edges on shoe laces 16.00 400.00 26 4
4 Plastic bottle trimming 0.75 8.00 13 1
5 Plastic bottle trimming 0.65 7.00 13 1
6 Making decorative stripes 6.00 150.00 22 2
7 Making decorative stripes 6.25 160.00 22 2
8 Putting rubber bands on cards 6.00 132.00 22 2
9 Putting rubber bands on cards 10.00 200.00 20 1
10 Bobbin filling (small ones) 40.00 960.00 26 3
11 Bobbin filling (small ones) 35.00 910.00 26 2
12 Knitting 250.00 1
13 Knitting 300.00 1
14 Sewing leather covers for seat head rests for wagons 10.00 300.00 30 1
15 Putting sequins on dupattas 36.00 800.00 22 3
16 WORK 10.00 300.00 30 2

Te : The average income of HBPRWs was approximately Rs.167.00 per month

1 Making artificial jewellery 8.50 200.00 22 1
2 Making artificial jewellery 10.00 300.00 30 3
3 Sewing for Anarkali 120.00 3000 26 5
4 Sewing for Anarkali 30 780.00 26 1

(Dharma pura)

Te: Average income being Rs.428.00 per month per working person.

1 Embroidery 350.00 30 2
2 Fitting beads on bangles 8.00 175.00 22 1
3 Sewing/knitting/crochet,any work available 150.00 26 1
4 Knitting (seasonal) 250.00 22 1
5 Embroidery 120.00 26 1
6 Sewing 20.00 520.00 26 1
7 Salma sittara embroidery 1000.00 24 1
8 Knitting (seasonal) 500.00 20 1
9 Sewing(kurtas) 5.00 130.00 26 2
10 Sewing(frocks) 12.00 312.00 26 1
11 Mokash (tinsel embroidery) 16.00 416.00 26 1
12 Mokash 12.00 312.00 26 1
13 Mokash 14.00 364.00 26 1
14 Mokash 14.00 364.00 26 1
15 Sewing 10.00 260.00 26 1
16 Sewing 20.00 520.00 26 1

Kot lakh pat/township
Te: Average income being Rs.319.05 per month per working person.

1 Making washers 20.00 500.00 26 2
2 // 10.00 330.00 30 1
3 // 10.00 300.00 30 1
4 // 12.00 375.00 30 1
5 // 10.00 300.00 30 1
6 // 8.00 340.00 30 1
7 Making washers 22.50 675.00 30 2
8 Joining hinges 7.50 150.00 20 1


Te: Average income being 284.00 per month per working person.

Note: there may be some discrepancies in the daily and the monthly income at that is due to the workers’ inability to keep accounts. Both the daily and monthly wages are reported. Monthly income is what they usually get said. There might be some understatements or exaggeration involved as sell.

Bad governance and dismal economic conditions

Failures to enhance revenues commensurate with growing expenditures, stagnating exports, debt burden reaching alarming levels, declining foreign exchange reserves, slowdown in economic growth, decelerating investment rates and above all, surging unemployment and poverty levels were the major attributes of the country¡¯s economy during second half of the 1990s. The worsening economic situation had then led us to land into the trap of International Monetary Fund (IMF) for the introduction of painful, but nevertheless much needed stabilisation programme. A set of economic stabilisation and structural reforms was introduced together with measures on improving governance. The scenario changed within time and in came 2008. Yet again, we resorted to the IMF programme – to be exact in November 2008. Strangely enough, at that time the factors indicated were not different from the ones that prevailed a decade and a half earlier, but with addition of surging commodity prices, especially oil.

With time it has become evident that the country cannot manage to survive without the financial assistance facility provided by the IMF. What is even more despicable is that more funds are borrowed from the multilateral agency, with additional conditionalities, to be able to repay the past loans.

Till today, various regimes have been able to maintain similar political and economic conditions including massive corruption, sub-optimal allocation of resources, large current and fiscal deficits etc, however, the recourse to more IMF loans has always remained constant.

Still in the budget fever, it becomes necessary to recapitulate some important tones of the budget speech of June 1996. Presented by the then minister of state for finance – to half of incompetent and unconcerned parliamentarians, at least a-third of the time was devoted to talk about the deeds, mostly misdeeds, of the immediate predecessor. Corruption and bribery were the order of the day. What is being practiced now was lamented in the past as well.

In case of financial mismanagement of the past regime, the budget speech had then informed that: (1) budget deficit reached 8 per cent of the GDP, could have been more if deferred liabilities and higher borrowings were taken into account, (2) foreign exchange reserves came down to as low as $300 million, (3) domestic borrowings reached 45 per cent of GDP, (4) inflation remained a double digit phenomenon, (5) borrowings by the last government equaled the total amount borrowed during 1947-90 period, and (6) four members of the then ruling family took Rs14 billion of loans from the banking and financial institutions.

Likewise, reporting of numerous scams has become a norm these days. For example, a multi-billion rupees scam brewing in the country¡¯s electric power sector, where the contract (being) awarded to the Chinese company by National Transmission Dispatch Company (NTDC) has reported to be opposed by National Engineering Services Pakistan (Pvt.) Limited (Nespak), the Central Contract Cell (CCC) of Wapda and even the public accounts committee (PAC). The reason being that the documents submitted by the company were insufficient, unauthenticated and contradictory. The current prime minister does not see corruption fast engulfing the entire society and he believes that ¡°all the democratic governments have been fired under the pretext of corruption since 1958¡±. This is reminiscent of the remarks of late Benazir Bhutto. In 1996, while giving an interview to Riz Khan of CNN, she remarked ¡°corruption, how¡±? The subject matter, of course, was the ever detested ¡°corruption perception index¡± of the Transparency International (TI). The TI at that time had come to the conclusion that Pakistan was the second most corrupt state in international business transactions. Sadly, things have not changed much now.

In context of the debt level today, internal and external debts have crossed $100 billion; foreign component alone now accounts for over $50 billion. It is likely to pass $70 billion in a few years time. Debt servicing liabilities are surging; nearing two-fifths of revenue collection and will be rising further.

The country did manage a period of short-lived vibrancy once more between mid-to-late 1990s and 2008. The turnaround of the economy enabled to post a gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate in the range of 5-8 per cent during 2002-2007. The foreign exchange reserves passed $15 billion, credit ratings improved, FDIs expanded drastically, and remittances recorded a double digit growth. However, during the bonanza period none had realised the risks related to economic sustainability.

More than four-fifths of the entire industry in the Khyper-Pakhtunkhwa (KP), thousands of units including power looms in Faisalabad and Multan, and hundreds of industrial units in Karachi today stand closed; at best operating marginally. The surging utility charges coupled with power outages are crippling many of the small enterprises, also adversely affecting the activities of the informal sector. This is an alarming situation for a country whose ever growing workforce would face lesser employment opportunities.

What should be done to address such issues? The numerous economic challenges require: (a) synchronised macro and sectoral policies, (b) greater and effective cooperation and coordination between federation and provinces, as well as between and within ministries, (c) transparent policies with assurances on continuity, and (d) vesting full authority to the economic team but with accountability. This should be the economy¡¯s vision for resolving all the major challenges that it has confronted for a long time now.

Noor Fatima – A Home based worker (Case Study)

Noor Fatima lives in Pepal Walla, District Shiekupura. Her husband, Mohammad Yousaf, works in a government department as a watchman. They have 4 daughters and 2 sons. One of her daughters is married while the other 3 help their mother in weaving. Both her sons are studying in primary school.

Noor Fatima’s grandmother taught her carpet weaving 37 years ago. Since then she has been weaving carpets. She taught all her daughters to weave. Now they help her at the loom. Noor Fatima sits at one end of the loom and her daughters read out the design instructions to her. They work 8-10 hours each day. They can complete one and half pages of design in two days if they work 10 hour shifts without attending to their household chores.

Noor Fatima’s daughters say that they will not continue weaving after their marriages and will never pass on this skill to their children. According to them weaving is tedious and yields low returns.

Noor Fatima gets wages according to the size and design of the carpet. The middleman provides her with raw material and design sheets. Nowadays she is making a carpet which is 9ftX5ft. She follows 4 ½ pages of design instructions in order to complete 1ft. She gets 110 to 150 rupees for each paper of the design instructions. Such a carpet is generally completed in 6 to 8 months.

Once she made a carpet that was too thin and she got Rs.225 per page of instructions. She used 40 papers of design sheets to complete that carpet. It took her one-year to make that carpet because the instructions were very complicated. After completing one page of instructions she hardly made 1ft.

Noor Fatima does not receive her payments together. She saves her earnings to use when there is no money in the house or when an occasion arrives. Noor Fatima is worried about her daughters�marriages. She is saving money by investing in neighborhood committees. She pays a monthly installment of Rs.300.

Noor Fatima is religious and prays five times a day.

She does not know of any government social protection schemes like the Zakat Fund and Bait-Ul-Maal. She criticizes government policies.

Noor Fatima complains that in the winter, her tools become very cold and it is difficult to handle them. She can only take a few minutes break if necessary.

Noor Fatima feels that she is too old and thus cannot change her profession in spite of all the difficulties she faces.

Hosiery Garments Textile Workers General Union at a Glance

Hosiery Garments Textile Workers General Union is the organization of textile workers, and working on the problems of informal sector since 6 years. In Pakistan informal sector is growing largely and a large number of workers are females. There is no legislation for home based workers so they are not having the facilities like a formal worker.


  • Networking with the organizations working on the same issue.
  • Advocacy for the rights of Home based workers and lobbying with the Government.
  • Consultations with experts on the issue of Homebased workers.
  • Recognition of Home based workers in legislation.
  • They must be recognized and must advantage under social safety networks.

Progarammes of Union:

  • Networking
  • Advocacy
  • Educational Programs
  • Campaign


Education programme of union will be helpful in networking and campaign if we can do it in proper way and in right direction. Seminars and awareness raising meetings will be arranged for advocacy and lobbing on the issue of home based workers.


Home Net Pakistan organized four one day training events on October 31, 2010 at Kasur, Nov 7, 2010 at Faisalabad, Nov 10, 2010 at Lahore and Nov 13, 2010 at Gujranwala to socially mobilize the home based workers in order to facilitate and consolidate the formation of Home Based Workers into Member Based Organizations.

The main aim of the trainings were to share basic principles of forming member based organizations while keeping in view the principles of social mobilization and community organizations formation.

For self-improvement full participation at the grass roots level is only possible if the home based workers are organized. Without this organization, participatory development will remain a mere slogan. The concept of social mobilization nurture individual thoughts of the people is concentrated into a communal cogitation for self and collective development that would benefit everyone in equitable and sustainable way.

NOVEMBER 7, 2010

Total 30 female home based workers participated in the said event held on November 7, 2010 at Faisalabad. Majority of the participants were engaged in embroidery work and other aligned home based activities e.g. cover making, stitching, knitting, jewelry making etc. Average daily incomes of different home based workers engaged in multiple trades were found to be around Rs. 40-50 per day. However, it was sad to know that majority of the women worked for 10-12 hours per day in poor working environment and with no proper support.

After group work and the formation of member based organizations participants realized the importance of community organizations and the collective potential they possess which can be utilized for their individual as well as collective welfare.

NOVEMBER 13, 2010

Total 35 HBW participated in the one day training even organized by the HomeNet Pakistan. These home based workers were identified and nurtured by the Home Net Pakistan while raising their awareness and providing them necessary information regarding their status as home based workers. Participants worked for various traditional home based works used for various purposes. Their average daily earning is around Rs. 45 – 50 with long working hours and poor working environment. They were not provided with regular work and middle man delayed their payments to exploit them. Through said training participants were realized of their status as home based workers and their rights in this respect. Through social mobilization dialogue the group of participants was formed into 3 Member Based Organizations who also identify their leaders and produce the list of their organization motives, problems, targets and objective.

OCTOBER 31, 2010

Total 35 female home based workers participated in the said event held on October 31, 2010 at Kasur. These home based workers were identified and nurtured by the Home Net Pakistan while raising their awareness and providing them necessary information regarding their status as home based workers. Majority of the women worked for chik making traditional wood based curtains used for various purposes. Their average daily earning is around Rs. 50 with long working hours and poor working environment. They were not provided with regular work and middle man delayed their payments to exploit them. It was unfortunate that no government department is providing any support to these women. These home based workers also complained about the lack of recognition given to them by their family members and lack of control over their earnings. As a result of training these home based workers were organized into three Member Based Organizations to identify their problems and set targets for their organizations. It was hearteni to observe the working spirit of the women home based workers. They worked in groups and also identify their member based organizations leaders to lead the organization.

NOVEMBER 10, 2010

Total 30 female home based workers participated in the said event held on November 13, 2010 at Lahore. Female Home Based Workers engaged in different traits participated in the training. Home Net Pakistan has provided these HBW with understanding of their rights and status as skilled workers, however, in order to organize them in member based organizations and formally organize them in groups was targeted in the said training. Participants were not only provided with the basic understanding of working collectively in an organized and systematic manner in the form of member based community organizations but were also provided with the opportunity to organize their groups work in the group and highlight the objective of their organizations their aims and objectives along with the selection of volunteer leaders.

One of the participants namely Rashida Bibi commented at the end of the training ¡° I believe now we can improve our individual socio-economic conditions through collective and organized actions and bargaining through our member based organizations, HomeNet Pakistan has given us the track to improve our lives.

ID Compaign in Kahna and Kasur

CNIC Campaign
12, October 2010
Kahna, Lahore

The ID card campaign for homebased workers was launched and with the support of NADRA a mobile van arranged for the homebased workers of Kahna, Lahore.