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“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.”

Muhammad received training in business management and a grant to buy equipment for his shop.

Boosting financial independence

Islamic Relief Pakistan is working in the newly merged tribal districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, supporting local communities to become financially independent. One of the projects, ‘Resilient Action For Inclusive Response’ (RAIR), is helping people in Orakzai with grants, livestock, water supply schemes, sanitation and hygiene and skill development training.

Among those to benefit was Muhammad, who took part in business management skill training and used a grant to buy much-needed equipment for his shop.

“I believe that God opens the window of opportunity for everyone so He connected me with Islamic Relief. My situation is changing dramatically, I have a lot of orders now.”

As customers enter his shop, Muhammad greets them with a pleasant smile and a sparkle in his eyes.

With a particular focus on empowering youth, Islamic Relief Pakistan is working with local government and communities bring about lasting change in tribal districts of Orakzai, Khyber and Waziristan. As we touch the lives of thousands of people in these areas through our interventions in the sectors of health, education, water, skill development and better economic opportunities, much more is needed to enable local communities to build brighter futures.

Support our life-changing work for the people of Pakistan and donate to Islamic Relief today.

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