Sitara’s story: a shooting star at Huma Adnan and UNHCR’s artisan camp
The bustle of the camps does not settle. As the UNHCR team and Huma Adnan step in, they are greeted by a flurry of activity. Children running around with careless abandon blend into the background, while the artisans remain absorbed in work - communicating, conversing, and creating.
Amongst all these is Sitara, one of the many Afghan refugees who has turned this camp into a home for herself, and all those with whom she works alongside. The mother-of-four is a highly skilled supervisor who oversees much of the ongoing creation on site. While her routine outside work consists of her remaining indoors, when at work, Sitara is unparalleled in terms of command and getting the job done.
Having been trained by Huma Adnan herself and Riaz Sahab (the head supervisor and trainer,) when asked about her life at the camp, Sitara displays a sense of ambivalence. On one hand, Sitara cannot help but reflect upon the life she has left behind - one of a war-torn, violent Afghanistan, where every visit would elicit some form of horror, and waking up every single day, safe and sound, was an act of mercy itself by a higher power.
However, there is also a deep sense of sorrow that stems from her new-found sense of ambition ever since her arrival and settlement in Pakistan.
“I want to do more,” she remarks wistfully, having settled into a routine at the camp. However, even when in conversation, Sitara is diligent, attuning herself to the ongoing work, albeit from the corner of her eye.
The magnitude of the responsibility on Sitara’s shoulders is not lost on her. Her 17-year-old son, who is the eldest of all children, works at a shop, while she works as an artisan for Huma Adnan. Being one of the two breadwinners of the family, Sitara is all too aware of the pressure to keep creating and moving on, stopping at nothing. After all, there are mouths to be fed.
Resilience and duty course through Sitara’s blood each day. As she talks about the training she has received at the camp, she skillfully crafts an ornament before our very eyes.
“It used to take me three to four days to make a piece in the beginning,” Sitara states with a slight smile. “I have become faster and more efficient now. I can make three to four pieces in a day.” The pride is palpable, and the sense of achievement decorates her visage.
Sitara’s story is a testament to sheer willpower and perseverance. She stops at nothing to get her work done, and she balances her personal and professional life with the utmost grace. Her ambition is evident in her eagerness to deliver. Rain or shine, Sitara continues to shine like the star she is, as her name so aptly suggests, illuminating her own path through her wit and mettle, while paving a way for other artisans as well.______________________________________________________________
To support Sitara and to honor her art, alongside the efforts of countless other artisans who work each day to create the ornaments on our feed, you can visit our Instagram page, or shop on our website.