A wheelchair-bound Pakistani mother who yearned to visit a park without worrying about ramp access, and a young South Sudanese woman who dreams of having affordable health care, were among the speakers opening the United Nation's largest annual gathering on gender equality and women's rights on Monday.
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Aleeza Hafeez from Sailkot, one of Pakistan’s most industrialized areas, has her own income for the first time. Knowing her own rights and an enabling environment at the workplace made it possible for her to work and grow as a professional. The project has changed family dynamics too. Now, Hafeez’s father includes her when making family decisions, a role previously reserved for male members.
In 2010, severe flooding killed nearly 2 000 people in Pakistan and wiped out 1.6 million homes. The province of Sindh was among the hardest hit, with some 970 000 households displaced and agriculture losses of USD 2.3 billion. For the average Pakistani farming family, the disaster meant huge personal loss and growing debt - and fewer opportunities to earn a living.