An event on women empowerment hosted by Begum Kalsoom Nawaz Sharif, organised by Benazir Income Support Program (BISP), was held at Prime Minister Office on Wednesday as a part of Economic Cooperation Organisation (ECO) Summit events.
The event was held in the honour of First Lady of Turkey. On her arrival, the First Lady of Turkey was welcomed by First Lady of Pakistan Begum Kalsoom Nawaz and Minister of State and BISP Chairperson MNA Marvi Memon.
The event was attended by spouse of Turkish Foreign Minister Hulya Cavusoglu, spouse of Turkish Minister of Economy Mrs. Aysen Zeybekci, spouse of Turkish minister for development Mrs Zeliha Elvan, spouse of Turkish minister of transportation Mrs Habibe Arslan, spouse of Turkish chief of general staff Mrs Sule Akar and spouse of Turkish ambassador Mrs Asli Girgin and BISP beneficiaries.
On the occasion, the First lady of Turkey Emine Erdogan stated that women are held in high esteem in Islam as they shape the future of a nation by cradling its coming generations. “Thus empowering women, empowers the future of a nation. Programmes like BISP contribute significantly towards women empowerment,” she said.
She appreciated the women empowerment initiative of BISP, as the awareness raised under this initiative would redefine the social fabric of the country by incorporating its women in main stream.
The Turkish First Lady added that Pakistan and Turkey enjoy good relations and would keep on supporting each other in fight against poverty and make the world a better place to live. She thanked the people of Pakistan for their hospitality and their support during thick and thin especially Pakistan’s support when Turkey faced a coup. She gave details of the Turkish welfare program and her personal interest in issues like reducing violence against women, girls and mother’s education, equal work opportunities for women, Islamic rights for women and many other initiatives.
Begum Kalsoom Nawaz, in her address, stated that women are the corner stone of our society that’s why PML(N) attributes top priority to the welfare of women. “As Prime Minister of Pakistan, Muhammad Nawaz Sharif launched key initiatives to improve the lives of poorest women during all his tenures. The largest part of the federal budget goes to the poorest women through BISP, thus benefiting the most vulnerable women,” she said.
She added that over the past years BISP has established itself as one of the most effective programmes for women empowerment. She appreciated the impact BISP has made in the lives of the poorest women by enhancing their decision making power and making them financially and socially inclusive. She added that BISP brought millions of women on the voter list, enrolled 1.3 million poorest children in schools and is the custodian of National Socio Economic Registry (NSER) of the country that provides critical data for all pro poor programs. She appreciated the work done by BISP team under leadership of Marvi Memon.
Speaking on the occasion, Marvi Memon said that BISP is the largest social safety net in the South Asia that not only targets women by disbursing cash grants to strengthen them economically but also ensures the much-needed support system for their social uplift. BISP provides an empowerment platform in shape of 50,000 BISP Beneficiary Committees (BBC) to its women. BBCs mobilise and educate women by raising awareness on key issues like mother and child health, nutrition, financial literacy, education, immunisation etc.
The first ladies interacted with BISP beneficiaries who shared their stories of the struggle against poverty in the Prime Minister office. They thanked the Prime Minister for enhancing BISP funds for their livelihoods and the many linkages to other welfare programmes. Begum Kalsoom Nawaz encouraged the beneficiaries to keep their heads high in their struggle against poverty and reiterated that the Prime Minister and the government are always there to support them. A play on women empowerment as part of BISP’s communication strategy was also staged on the occasion on all key women empowerment issues which will be shown to all beneficiary committees through social mobilisers countrywide.
Reporter. Event on women empowerment held. The News, March 2, 2017.