The Thar Block-1 Integrated Coal Mine Power Project, a crucial component of the CPEC, is progressing rapidly with the active participation of local women. As part of their efforts towards empowering women in the underprivileged region, the project has trained and hired several women to work on the 1,320MW electricity production project.
A total of 21 women from the surrounding areas of Mithi and Islamkot have been hired for solar panel cleaning. The women are aged between 18-45 and apart from three younger ones all of them are married and mothers.
“This job is like a life-changing opportunity for all of us,” says Komal Kumari, from Mithi, who lives with her parents. She is the supervisor of the solar panel cleaning team at the project. Komal has been working with the Thar Block-1 Integrated Coal Mine Power Project for the last four months and has witnessed much betterment in the lives of all the women working under her supervision.
“Females have finally stepped out of their homes. It’s a huge step towards women empowerment. These women are not educated. They used to be helpless and scared before they started working. Things are changing. People who used to object to my working are now calling me to give their wives or daughters a job as well. There is so much awareness among women now,” she says.
Mr Meng Donghai, CEO Thar Coal Block-1 Power Generation Company (PVT) Limited, a subsidiary of Shanghai Electric, said that his company will continue initiating CSR activities in a bid to help improve the lives of the local population in Thar.
“We have created this opportunity for women workers as we are fully aware that in order to make a difference women need to be empowered,” he said. “At Shanghai Electric we recognise the importance of educating and training local residents in the energy industry. We have implemented several initiatives, including on-board training sessions for local workers. Our efforts have resulted in providing 18,000 job opportunities and training schools in Thar to teach life-changing vocational skills. The Block-1 Integrated Project’s contribution has positively impacted Pakistan’s economy and improved the quality of life for locals,” he added.
“I joined the Thar Block-1 Integrated Project on December 26, 2022, as a solar panel cleaner, and it has been a life-changing experience for me. I have become financially stronger and have learned skills through their training. I see my future with the company very bright, and I will continue working very hard,” says Radha, one of the women workers.
Komal said that women like Radha have learned fast and are getting better at their job. “All these women were very needy. Now they are helping their families. They are earning. Their families are prospering. Their children can now go to school. Their ability to manage time has immensely improved due to working in a professional environment. Now they have become great at juggling their personal and professional lives. They were scared to step out or talk to someone initially. Now they are very confident, stepping out in the world and are taking care of the needs of their families. Their lives have been truly changed towards a better future.”