Shahnaz Bibi’s family consisted of six children and her parents in law in addition to herself and her husband. This household of ten people was barely surviving on the meagre sum her husband earned by working as a mechanic. In order to contribute and make life better for her family, Shahnaz tried to make and sell rose essence but the initiative didn’t take root as she always had to use borrowed equipment making things very difficult.

A neighbor then told her about Akhuwat and she decided to start working with them. The organization gave her a loan of seven thousand to start off and then two loans of twelve thousand each after that. With the help of this money, Shahnaz Bibi slowly built up her business and she is now the proud owner of a small but successful set up which consists of equipment and supplies to make rose essence. She now contributes to the family income making life better for her entire family while simultaneously working towards paying back the loan.

This is just one of the countless success stories that have come about because of Akhuwat foundation. Based in Lahore, what started off as a simple and thoughtful philanthropic exercise has today turned into a full-fledged foundation which is recognized as a provider of Microfinance facilities. Akhuwat operates on the lines of providing interest free micro credit, establishing charitable links with religious places and instilling the spirit of volunteerism in society in order to work towards achieving their vision which is; “A poverty free society built on the principles of compassion and equity.”

The setup of the organization confirms the fact that Akhuwat is incredibly efficient and their only goal is to help the underprivileged without looking for any personal gains. Since the organization provides interest free loans, it does not make any profit and thereby needs to keep its expenses minimal. The Board of Directors works without remuneration, the employees use public transport as often as possible as the company has no vehicles of their own and the offices of Akhuwat are extremely simple and minimalistic.

For more information, please log on to https://www.akhuwat.org.pk

Orangi Pilot Project – Orangi Charitable Trust

OPP-OCT discovered that this growing settlement of Orangi was full of the enterprising spirit. The most impressive demonstration of the spirit of enterprises is the creation of employment everywhere in the lanes; inside the homes there are around twenty thousand family units, shops workshops, peddlers and vendors. In response to the dual challenge of inflation and recession, the residents have invented working family, modifying homes into workshops, promoting the women from more dependents to economic partners and wage earners, abandoning the dominant patriarchal pattern with surprising speed.

OPP’s research revealed two significant factors; first, there was unlimited demand for products and services of these family units. Second, the family units were extremely competitive (on account of very low over heads and very cheap and docile labor). The working family units of Orangi were completely integrated with the main Karachi markets. In fact many units are supplying goods to famous firms, who just put their labels and make big profits. What is required is to support their initiatives.

On the basis of the research findings, Orangi Pilot Project (OPP) decided to arrange access to credit to these micro enterprises. For this Orangi Pilot Project – Orangi Charitable Trust (OPP – OCT) was established in 1987 as an independent and autonomous institution in Orangi, a low income settlement of over one million people. The main objective is to support people’s effort in their economic development by providing credit in urban and rural areas.

For more information, please log on to http://www.opp.org.pk