Islamabad, 26 January 2023 (TDI): The Overseas Pakistanis Foundation (OPF) held a ceremony to provide toolkits to returning migrants, the local population, and vulnerable groups in order to enable them to initiate sustained self-employment.

The ceremony was part of the efforts of OPF to foster decent working conditions in the country and was held in collaboration with Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) in Pakistan.

It is pertinent to note that the program is commissioned by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation & Development Germany, (BMZ) and is part of BMZ support for voluntary return & sustainable reintegration.

During the ceremony, 174 participants including women received toolkits in various fields such as culinary arts, tailoring & fashion designing, digital tools, and e-banking services, solar PV systems, plumbing, electrical, carpentry, and masonry.

The participants had already completed comprehensive training in their respective fields. Federal Minister for Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Development, Sajid Hussain Turi was the chief guest at the ceremony.

He highlighted the government’s commitment to supporting returnees and the local population to find better employment prospects and income sources.

A Pakistani-German Facilitation & Reintegration Centre (PGFRC) has been established as a major component of the program and is located in the OPF premises in Lahore. The program also has an advisory desk at the OPF head office in Islamabad.

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Likewise, the head of PGFRC, Dr. Mansoor Zaib Khan shared that the objective of the program is to support returning migrants and the local population.

It will help them to find better opportunities for better living conditions and sustainable sources of income to support themselves and their families.

In addition, he also highlighted that under the program, a special intervention for vulnerable groups has been planned, and today the beneficiaries of this intervention are also receiving the toolkits.

Dr. Amer Sheikh, Managing Director, OPF praised the collaboration between GIZ and OPF, stating it has opened up new opportunities.

Especially it has helped in the economic reintegration of returning migrants and the identification of economic opportunities for the local population.

Moreover, the program is supporting counseling and introduction to employment or entrepreneurship measures, assisting in providing self-employment to Pakistani workers in Pakistan, thus reducing the unemployment ratio in the country.

The program’s beneficiaries were delighted with this opportunity. One woman who received a food cart as In-Kind Support expressed her happiness.

She said, “We received comprehensive one-month training in cooking and baking, and now today we have received this modern food cart. I will be opening my own business tomorrow, and I am hopeful for a prosperous future.”

Another woman participant who received training and In-kind support in digital tools & e-banking services said, “I have learned a lot, how to sell my products online on different platforms on the internet.

Also, how to utilize electronic banking tools, I am really confident now and looking forward to improving my business.”

In short, the program is aimed at fostering decent working conditions in the country and reducing unemployment rates in Pakistan.