Whilst RLCC has focused on providing health and education related services, income generation is also critical to RLCC’s programs. Shah Faisal Town, is located in one of Karachi’s most volatile areas and often serves as a hotbed for ethnic violence and is frequently catapulted into the throes of political play. Given the complete and utter unpredictability of Shah Faisal Town, a steady income for resident households becomes all the more crucial. Under the Income Generation Department (IG), RLCC continues to support Begum Ra’ana’s vision of supporting local crafts. The income generation department develops products using local craft skill sets, trains women in the making of these products, maintains quality control and markets the product. Over this period, RLCC has made a concerted effort to
1) improve product quality,
2) provide a steady supply of products to retailers/market, and
3) innovate and develop new products catering to contemporary market needs.
The RLCC team realizes that with globalization, RLCC products compete not only with local and provincial markets but also with a much wider international market. Global economics therefore come into play; vision, product type, pricing and supply become all the more critical. RLCC remains loyal to Shah Faisal craft community and works towards enhancing their capacity in production, and speciﬁcally aims at improving the income generation capacity of women living in Shah Faisal Town. Last but not least, RLCC realizes that income generation is directly linked with sustainability: not only the sustainability of resident households, but of RLCC itself through the 20% overheads charged on product sales. The IG Department has the potential to not only sustain households on the supply side but also has the capacity if managed properly to sustain RLCC as an organization.
RLCC has 222 registered women who earn an income through the IG Department with an average monthly income of Rs. 2,000. Income from sales increased from Rs. 2,064,705 in 2014-15 to Rs. 2,085,882 and total sales were Rs. 2,572,650/- in 2015-16. An increase in average monthly income amongst crafts women was also seen during these two years. Average monthly income in 2014-15 was Rs. 1,900 to 2,000/- and in 2015-16 had improved to Rs. 3,000 to 3,500 per worker.
RLCC provides the raw material for the products to be developed. As much as possible these raw materials are donated by friends of RLCC. RLCC also purchases other materials such as beads, threads, glue etc. required for the product. These raw materials are then upcycled by the community women to make new products for the market. Once the craftswoman creates a product, RLCC checks for quality, ﬁnishes the product, and pays off the woman for her effort. Women are paid immediately and are guaranteed an income for their labour. Product stock remains with RLCC which then sells the products through several means:
- Stalls at ‘melas’ and events held in Karachi
- Stocking the product at various outlets such as Tali, N’ecos etc.
- Fulﬁlling speciﬁc orders for clients including corporates and companies.
With their earnings the women are now respected in their homes by their husbands and other family members. Women who were not allowed to leave their homes are now encouraged by the decision makers of the home to come to RLCC and get work.
Marketing is critical to the success of this department and efforts will continue to focus on ﬁnding new ways to market the products. At the same time, the Department plans to expand the worker base so that more women get the opportunity to earn from this facility. RLCC also seeks to pull in younger women towards learning skills in order to enable an entry into the workforce, gain ﬁnancial control over their lives and gain conﬁdence critical to making positive life decisions. We have seen a positive change in the support the women get from their homes as they start contributing towards the household.