After a good breakfast of eggs, paratha, chicken and chai, we left our PTDC Hotel in Balakot and headed north toward Jared. We crossed the Naran River at Malakandi and then followed the river up to Jared with fantastic mountain views along the way.
The Bunyaad connections in Jared started a long time ago. Back in 1997, while on a mountain driving trip, Ehsan had a vehicle breakdown in Jared. A friendly local family headed by Mr. Ghullam Mohammad helped Ehsan to get the vehicle fixed and back on the road again.
In 2005 when Ehsan heard about the big earthquake he called the family and asked how Bunyaad could help. This led to relief work and new house building in Jared. Finally, the rebuilding work resulted in a proposal for a rug making training center so local people could make rugs for a living.
The center began training in August 2015 and there are now 16 young women training on 6 metal looms. We met Ghullam Mohammad, his son Ghullam Rehman and another son, Hafeez, who is also a rug designer. We also met Haleem, the rug training instructor, who is from Garaan village in the Narwal region (northeast of Lahore and the same region where the Chaman family is from).
Many other people have asked
to be part of the training program
New, completed rugs should be coming off the looms in Jared by late 2016. When the women trainees have graduated from the program a new loom will be installed in their homes and they will have a way to earn their own living and add to their family’s income as well. Since there are very few other employment opportunities for women in Jared learning rug making is a big advantage for these women. Ghullam Mohammad mentioned that many other people have asked to be part of the training program but right now they are at full capacity. As the first group of women begins to graduate, more people will be added to the program.
The women are a bit shy in front of the camera but they obviously enjoy working together at the Bunyaad Training Center.
After a wonderful lunch beside the fireplace in the Jared Training Center we got back in our Land Cruiser and four wheeled up the mountain to a place called Shugran. It is a resort at 7,500 feet elevation with fantastic views of the Himalayan Mountains.
On the way back down the mountain we stopped at a small restaurant alongside a stream and had a fresh trout fry for supper.
As soon as we had devoured all of the fried trout we got back in our vehicle and drove through Mansehra, Abbotabad, and Islamabad to get onto the M2 Motorway and arrived back in Lahore at 3 am on Saturday. It will be exciting to see the first rugs coming off the training looms in Jared.
Stay tuned for Doug’s next trip post
We hope you’ve been enjoying the notes, experiences and photos and have been able to follow our adventures on the Bunyaad blog so far. Here is a link to all of the posts: Read Pakistan Learning Tour