Chirah Sewing Centre

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Chirah Sewing Center

Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan :


Update and appeal


The Chirah sewing centre is going from strength to strength and we are delighted to be able to continue supporting this very popular initiative. 42 women have now benefited from the 6-monthly courses and more are queuing up to join. Dermot visited the area with a group recently and received a wonderful welcome - he was left in no doubt of the great potential this community-conceived project still offers.


We are currently appealing for funds towards 'phase two' of the centre's development. This will allow us to invest in toilet and storage facilities and to buy more high quality machinery. We believe this will see the centre well on its way to really achieving the potential that so many people locally can see in it.


Please support us on with this latest appeal. Any donations are very gratefully received indeed - just click on the 'Donate now' button (above right) and follow the link...


Recent feedback on the sewing centre:


‘Chirah Sewing Centre has turned into an institution of vocational training, the first ever in Bagrote. Many young ladies are keen to gain training. Nowadays, they come from every village of the valley and ask for permission to get admitted. There is a long list of prospective trainees. This kind of practical training besides schooling is very valuable for any local lady to gain additional experience and income or save costs by sewing for her household members. This small project seems to bear many qualities as it is very well accepted and meets the needs of many local women.’


Monika Schneid, 17 Oct 2013

(Founder of Monika Girls School, Bagrote Valley)





Chirah is a small village in the Bagrote valley, situated in the Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan. This region is self-governing and receives only limited support from the central Pakistani government, 500kms away to the south. It is a spectacularly beautiful area and has a long tradition of independence, openness and hospitality.


In keeping with our original aims, the sewing centre was a collaboration between ourselves and the local community. We held initial discussions with the village elders who were keen to develop a facility to further the opportunities available to the women in the village. Their preference was for a sewing training centre and a village resident offered to provide space where this could be housed. Our funding then provided the equipment for a fully functioning sewing centre.


The centre now provides six-month courses that are taught by our fully qualified trainer. These enable the women to develop a new skill and use this, if they wish, to earn their own income. The centre is very popular locally is now attracting women from the neighbouring villages too.


We continue to support this project and have recently sent funds for two embroidery machines to add to the equipment already available. If you would like to make a donation specifically for the centre please do let us know. We would especially welcome anyone interested in making small monthly direct debits to help support the on-going running costs of this centre. As with all our projects, any donations, irrespective of size, are very greatly appreciated.


Chirah Sewing Centre is running successfully
since its start in April 2012:


On Tuesday, 25 September 2012 I visited the Chirah Sewing Centre which was founded by Red Spokes/LVCF only six months ago. The vocational school is located in the heart of the village and neighbouring the village's girls primary school.  It was a surprise visit on my first day in the Bagrote Valley. 12 out of 14 female students (age 16 - 30 years) were present and their cheerful teacher Ms Roxana. The small room was buzzing with voices and the noise of 10 hand-ridden sewing machines.


The ladies welcomed me warmly and introduced me to their work. Walls were decorated with different sewing products prepared over the last months. This first sewing course is coming to an end in early October already and the students had a lot to tell. They expressed their happiness with the training course which is running from Monday to Saturday, 8 – 13 h.  They are eager to gain more sewing and related skills while more ladies are awaiting the start of the second course. In the afternoons they hope to be able to use the sewing machines for gaining more experience and a little income with sewing work for other villagers.


The end of this first training class will be celebrated, they told me smilingly. A certificate confirming the successful training will be distributed to each student. Ms Roxana expressed her gratitude to be able to share her knowledge with her female companions in Chirah. Discussing the issue of income generating activities after finalizing the training, the students requested two sewing machines for embroidery work to be set up at the training centre. This would allow them to produce items which are in demand for dowry and gift items.


I was very impressed by the Chirah Sewing Centre. This small but smart vocational training institution meets the needs of many ladies of economically poor households in Chirah and beyond. Ladies of other villages in Bagrote have already been inquiring about training options for themselves or their daughters.


The certificate function was held on Wed, 17, I learned during a phone talk with Ahmad Ali, our liaison person in Bagrote, yesterday. Representatives of the community and nine students of the second course participated too. Five more young ladies have expressed their keen interest to join the new 6-month class for beginners.


Monika Schneid


Hamburg, 22 October 2012



Chirah Sewing Centre has turned into an institution of vocational training, the first ever in Bagrote...