Under the scorching sun in the rugged terrain of Sibi, Balochistan, Aziz Fatima makes her way to the creative center to begin her day. Having expertise in Balochi embroidery is nothing uncommon amongst Balochi women; what sets Fatima apart is her vigor to give back to the system.
With her innate talent, Fatima strives to do her bit for the craft by imparting professional training to young girls to enable them to earn a living for themselves.
After being honored by Lok Virsa during the Chadarposhi ceremony during the Lok Mela, Fatima told The Express Tribune about her work and the journey that brought her to Islamabad.
The mother of three is a very liberated woman, “My only dream is to have successful educated children. I want them all to at least do their Masters.” With a degree in Sociology, Fatima now runs a center in Sibi, empowering women from her region. “We open our eyes to embroidery and there are about 50 different types of stitches. I teach, not only to make money, but also to make a difference in the lives of women.”
The dowry in Balochistan consists of 10-20 embroidered outfits depending on the socio-economic status of the individual.
“I was hired by small industries and they helped me set up my center. It has been 20 years and I have never looked back,” Fatima said.
When questioned what would make her business flourish she replies, “We can stitch but not design. It would really help us if a designer came on board and helped us recreate the designs with a modern touch.”
As the fashion industry evolves continuously and designers like Ali Xeeshan venture out to feature motifs from the Kalash region, Fatima hopes that someone will one day contact her center too.
After a successful visit in Islamabad, the artisan said that Balochi embroidery does not sell in the northeastern parts of Pakistan. But she hopes to change all that and market the designs of her ancestors to the entire country.