“Life is all about hope and pursuing dreams,” says Muhammad, as he skilfully stitches a shirt on a sewing machine. His prosthetic leg rests beside his wooden worktable, which emits an earthy scent.
“Living under extreme poverty coupled with disability always casted a shadow on my ambitions,” adds the 30-year-old, taking a sip of tea and neatly removing stray threads from the shirt. His tailoring shop is situated in newly merged tribal district Orakzai of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa that is known for its gushing streams and forests studded with tall trees.
Muhammad lives in with his brothers and other members of his extended family.
“One of my uncles passed away in a roadside blast, so now my aunt and her children are also living with me; however, I am happy to support them… At the end of the day, it’s all about the family,” says the tailor, describing a life of incredible resilience.
Struggling to provide for his family
Growing up in poverty, Muhammad never managed to complete his studies and eventually dropped out of school. He worked at someone else’s shop, where he learned the skill of stitching.
“I always wanted to be a famous tailor in my area. I learned the art and used to work at my teacher’s shop but it wasn’t enough to feed my family.
“I opened my own shop but never had the resources to buy good machines and other tailoring items. Since my childhood, I have seen poverty as the biggest challenge in this mesmerizing valley.”