LAHORE (Staff Report) – Chairperson of the Punjab Commission on the Status of Women Fozia Waqar distributed certificates to 120 women graduates who completed an information technology (IT) internship program funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) under the Small Grants and Ambassador’s Fund Program.

Governor of Punjab Muhammad Rafique Rajwana, Punjab Minister for Women Development Hameeda Waheed-ud-Din and Waseem Ashraf from USAID spoke on the occasion.

“Understanding that women make a vital contribution to the global economy, the U.S. Government supports programs worldwide that empower women economically, aiming to lift entire families and communities out of poverty,” said USAID representative Waseem Ashraf.

“We strongly support projects such as the one we are here to celebrate today that promote the inclusion of women and girls in growth sectors which will likely advance their economic opportunities.”

The “Enhancing Employability of Women Graduates in Information Technology Sector” program was implemented by the Sanjh Preet Organization, which organized a three-month internship with 24 IT companies.  Of the 120 interns, 59 women (nearly 50%) will be continuing as employees of the software houses.

USAID, through the Small Grants and Ambassador’s Fund program, has supported 31 projects that empower women by equipping them with skills, giving them a mechanism for addressing domestic violence issues, and providing them access to justice.