Pakistan’s first certified female electricians inspire the world at Expo 2020

Roshni Baji, a pioneering program to promote inclusivity and drive safety awareness in communities is reshaping Pakistan’s power sector



K-Electric introduced its 'Roshni Baji’ program at Expo 2020 Dubai by honouring Abeera Kamran and Zara Afshan as the country's first certified female electricians at Pakistan Pavilion on Friday. The Roshni Bajis shared their inspiring journey to become the bastions of safety within their neighbourhoods. – Supplied photo
K-Electric introduced its 'Roshni Baji’ program at Expo 2020 Dubai by honouring Abeera Kamran and Zara Afshan as the country's first certified female electricians at Pakistan Pavilion on Friday. The Roshni Bajis shared their inspiring journey to become the bastions of safety within their neighbourhoods. – Supplied photo

By Staff Report

Published: Sun 20 Feb 2022, 2:51 PM

K-Electric – the Saudi and Kuwaiti-backed sole privatised power utility, introduced its 'Roshni Baji’ program at Expo 2020 Dubai by honouring Abeera Kamran and Zara Afshan as the country's first certified female electricians at Pakistan Pavilion on Friday.

The company, which powers the country's largest city with a population base of over 25 million people, highlighted key features of the pioneering programme and women role to promote inclusivity and drive safety awareness in communities is reshaping Pakistan’s power sector.

What is 'Roshni Baji' program

The Roshni Baji, Beacon of Light, program was conceived by K-Electric under the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 5 (SDG 5) – gender equality and women empowerment – to provide a platform for women to showcase their talents while driving a grassroots transformation of their communities.

Abeera Almas and Zara Afshan represented the ‘Roshni Baji’ program in a country where female labour force participation (FLFP) has remained the lowest in the past two decades as per the World Bank. As per reports, FLFP in Pakistan’s power sector hovers around four per cent.

Two unique women, Abeera Almas and Zara Afshan, took the center stage at the Pakistan Pavilion’s event “Women of Pakistan: Leading a Change”, a first-of-its -kind initiative organised by the Employers’ Federation of Pakistan (EFP) as part of proceedings of the on-going Expo 2020 Dubai.

Inspiring journey

Speaking at the event, the ‘Roshni Bajis' shared their inspiring journey to become the bastions of safety within their neighbourhoods. They spoke about their critical role in creating awareness towards safe usage of electricity within premises, which was becoming one of the leading preventable injury/death causes in the country’s financial and economic hub. Launched in February 2021, these 40 women have collectively engaged over 100,000 homes across Karachi, gaining access to areas where cultural sensitivities prevented male staff from engaging with women who were present at home.

With additional rigorous training, these women also became proficient at operating and maintaining motorcycles to increase their mobility and became certified as Pakistan’s first female electricians capable of completing the internal wiring of a house, office, or warehouse on single-phase supply. Upon graduating, several of these women have been inducted as full-time employees in K-Electric, with others using their skills to become entrepreneurs in their own right.

Empowering women

Sharing her delight to be the part of this illustrious occasion, Abeera Almas said: “We are proud to be representing Pakistan on such a prestigious platform and share our stories with the audience. Programs like ‘Roshni Baji' prove that if women are given the right support and opportunities, they can excel and create a space for themselves even in technical fields."

"We hope that other organisations also create similar programs and empower more women to enter the workforce. We look forward to playing our part in driving Pakistan’s prosperity and reshaping its perception on the global stage,” she added.

The Roshni Baji project is co-powered by GuarantCo, one of the leading financial guarantor companies operating in Asia and Africa, and is launched in collaboration with Children for Concern (CFC). The initiative has also been recognised by the Pakistan power industry’s regulator, the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA) under its ‘Power with Prosperity’ initiative.

Source of national pride

While expressing her excitement during the event, Zara Afshan said: “It gives us tremendous joy that through this ‘Roshni Baji' program, we have become the source of national pride. The journey towards becoming safety ambassadors was not easy, but we showed everyone that with determination and passion, it is possible. I feel proud to be a Roshni Baji; not only have I been able to create a change in my community, but I am empowered enough to financially support my family.”

The ‘Roshni Baji' program has also been honored with international accolades including the 23rd S&P Global Platts Energy Awards, also known as the ‘Oscars’ of the Energy Sector. Currently, the second cohort of 60 Roshni Bajis is undergoing training as part of the next phase.

Zaki Ahmed Khan from the Employers Federation of Pakistan (EFP) also commended the initiative, stating “Pakistan is progressing and we recognise that women can play an integral role in driving this transformation. We are proud to showcase some of these inspiring initiatives today, and we look forward to collaborating with global platforms, leaders and experts to help Pakistan catalyse its efforts to the next level.”

K-Electric was privatised in 2005 when the company’s majority shares were acquired by KES Power, a consortium of investors including Al Jomaih Power Limited of Saudi Arabia, National Industries Group (Holding) of Kuwait, and the Infrastructure and Growth Capital Fund (IGCF). Collectively, this consortium from the Middle Eastern region has brought one of the largest foreign direct investments in Pakistan’s power sector, enabling the utility to invest over $3.8 billion across its value chain. Significant attention has also been given to creating programs that merge KE’s operational investments with a vision to create sustainable communities.

— reporters@khaleejtimes.com


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