The Halcrow Foundation is supporting the British Asian Trust’s (BAT) sustainable livelihoods fund. The fund addresses three key areas:

  • Giving young people access to vocational and technical skills leading to employment
  • Enabling economic empowerment of rural women through livelihoods and enterprise development
  • Supporting those with disabilities to lead economically independent lives

Pakistan is estimated to become the fifth most populated country in the world by 2050 with just under 300 million people. 60 million people in Pakistan currently make up the labour market. This figure is set to rise to 87 million by 2030; requiring the economy to produce an additional 1.7 million new jobs every year. Less than 10 percent of the 45 million young people are predicted to have the skills or education to access formal employment by 2030. The labour market has both a demand and supply problem as slow economic growth results in limited employment opportunities and the current labour force is not appropriately skilled or educated to take up limited job opportunities.

To ensure that those on the margins of society are not forgotten the British Asian Trust, with support from the Halcrow Foundation and other partners, has invested in initiatives that provide access to vocational training, entrepreneurship skills and coaching in core life skills for urban youth, rural women and disabled people.

BAT is investing in projects that help these groups to skill at scale and facilitate sustainable jobs and businesses including those in agriculture. These livelihood initiatives provide a route out of poverty, not just for the individual but for entire communities.

The funding will help to improve the effectiveness and sustainability of three local non-governmental partner organisations (NGOs); Kaarvan Crafts Foundation, The Hunar Foundation and the Lahore Businessmen Association for Rehabilitation of the Disabled (LABARD) by building rigorous systems to gather and analyse evidence and learnings in order to showcase effective solutions.

Kaarvan Crafts Foundation (KCF)
KCF is linking women entrepreneurs in low income, rural communities to urban markets, thereby allowing them to set up successful businesses. These artisans are from conservative backgrounds, and given the socio-cultural sensitivities, entrepreneurial activities are normally limited to ‘traditional’ crafts such as tailoring and embroidery. KCF helps by:

  • Developing the technical skills of female artisans and tailors by training them on designs and colour combinations that are popular and sell in urban markets.
  • Developing and training sales agents who act as intermediaries between female artisans and urban buyers.
  • Training women in business and financial skills so that they can negotiate better contracts with buyers.
  • Strengthening existing value chains so female artisans are able to secure better rates for their goods.

The Hunar Foundation (THF)
Technical and vocational skills training directly addresses the urgent issue of youth unemployment in Pakistan. Over 45 million young people are expected to enter the labour force by 2030. However, less than one percent of them have accessed any form of technical or vocational skills training. THF provides subsidised high quality technical and vocational training to young people from low income communities. THF runs technical skills training programmes in four state-of-the-art, purpose-built training institutes in Lahore. These programmes are largely free, and any paying students contribute less than £10 to the cost of training. The courses include fabrication and welding, electrical installation, plumbing, motorcycle mechanics, refrigerator and air conditioning repairs, hairdressing and beauty therapy. In addition to the vocational and technical skills training, trainees are given mentoring by professional counsellors to build strong work aptitude as well as life skills coaching and language skills courses to help them prepare for job interviews and adapt to the work environment. THF also assists in connecting successful graduates to potential employees.

LAMBARD provides technical and vocational skills training for disabled young people in Lahore, Punjab. Those that successfully complete the training programmes are then helped into employment. LABARD has provided thousands of employment opportunities.

As well as educational, financial and medical assistance the organisation also helps to mentally prepare the young people to overcome challenges in life, giving them confidence and hope.

Story of change
Farkhanda / Amjad

British Asian Trust (BAT)

BAT supports the development of a South Asia that is free from inequality and injustice. The Trust was founded in 2017 by HRH The Prince of Wales and a group of visionary British Asian business leaders to support sustainable solutions that enable people to truly unlock their potential.