Are you a person trying to keep up with ever increasing expenses. Maybe you are a student or a stay-at-home mom or a working officer with a meager salary or someone trying to find a job. We all need money for our academics, for supporting our family, for our hobbies etc. However, most of us do not realize the power of a laptop and an internet connection; which can not only help us solve our money problems but also gain experience and learn professionalism from the comfort of our homes. Freelancing can be an answer to your money woes, but it does not mean that you will earn money without putting in any efforts.
Empower Pakistan is a non-profit organization aiming to self-employ individuals and women in Pakistan through Freelancing. It’s Facebook page reads, “120 Million people in Pakistan live below $2 per day & 30 Million below $1 per day” and they want to change this situation though eliminating the fear of unemployment within Pakistanis and creating job opportunities. The startup is a brain child of Farhan Shah and Syed Sajid Shah, who started out as freelancers and now have their own startups on popular freelancing sites. Farhan Shah is the CEO of oMiner, a freelancing agency on oDesk while Syed Sajid Shah has two startups under his name: a digital media company, Ohyrus and an award-winning GIS-based data visualization firm, Silk Route Interactive.
Syed Sajid Shah, co-founder of Empower Pakistan, told me over the phone regarding the current work of his organization and its achievements. He explained that the main function of Empower Pakistan is to provide hands-on training to individuals on Freelancing and to help women explore “earn from home” opportunities. They have organized two such trainings till now at NUST, Islamabad and FAST, Peshawar. Sajid believes that empowering even one individual can be a source of income for several others. This is apparent from the following infographic based on the first one-month training workshop of Empower Pakistan.
I inquired regarding the content of these workshops to which Sajid told me about four phases of training: skill development workshop, learning to earn, leadership & freelancing, and finally, startup & entrepreneurship. The first two phases are completed during the one-month training while the rest are just monitoring phases which continue even after the workshop. The participants identify or learn skills in the first phase, then they are guided through the proposal submission for freelancing jobs relevant to their skills in the second phase. Sajid proudly told that most of their participants landed their first jobs during the training sessions. After this, they monitor the progress of the participants and help them through their freelancing journey until they are capable of launching their own startups and this mark the completion of the last phase.
The skills most relevant for the first phase include content writing, blogging, web programming, internet marketing, graphic designing, SEO etc. These are some of the highest paid skills as Saad Hamid mentioned this fact during his talk on GDayX event. When I asked Sajid about the skill level of people in Peshawar, he said, “Their interest, passion, and skills are even greater than those in Islamabad.” He added that though the women involvement in the Peshawar workshop was minimum, they are still trying their best to empower these women to utilize their many talents and earn for themselves.
The Peshawar workshop was free-of-charge due to support from the World Bank, but a minimum fee was charged for the first workshop held at NUST. Empower Pakistan aims to change the lives of skilled Pakistanis free of cost, therefore, they are in the process of partnering up with government and other organizations to further the self-employment cause.
Keep checking Empower Pakistan for details on future Freelancing workshops.