In a small workshop in the bustling northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar, a dozen Afghan women sit watching a teacher show them how to make clothes on a sewing machine.
The skills centre was set up last year by Peshawar resident Mahra Basheer, 37, after seeing the steady influx of people from neighbouring Afghanistan where they face an economic crisis and growing restrictions on women since the Taliban took over in 2021.
Trying to create options for women to become financially independent, she opened the workshop to teach tailoring as well as digital skills and beauty treatments. Basheer quickly found hundreds of women enrolling and had a long waitlist. "If we get assistance, I think we will be able to train between 250 and 500 students at one time, empowering women who can play an important role in the community," Basheer said.
Officials say hundreds of thousands of Afghans have travelled to Pakistan since foreign forces left and the Taliban took over in 2021. Even before then, Pakistan hosted some 1.5 million registered refugees, one of the largest such populations in the world, according to the United Nations refugee agency.