Akhuwat is a story of passion and dedication. It is a story of finding solutions for inequalities. It is the story of a few people who made a big difference. As a dreamer and founder of this great institution I have many things to share and inspire young and budding entrepreneurs. Let me begin with my early childhood.
I did not come from a rich family but I received my education at the best available institutions. During all those years the question that disturbed me most was why some people are so poor and why the resources in this world are not equitably distributed. Why is life for two billion people on this planet is so hard and miserable? That inspired me to work for the poor and make a difference myself.
When I started my professional life I did not forget the promise I made to myself and continued to refine my thoughts of bringing a positive change to the lives of the poor and needy. I was told by my teachers and mentors that true leadership should always transcend personal objectives and focus on social goals. That was exactly what inspired me while I was weaving my dreams.
I founded Akhuwat as an organisation to help those who want to help themselves and make this world a happy place to live in.
The story started when a poor widow came to me for help. After the death of her husband nobody helped her and the family was on the verge of great crisis. She wanted to give her children a life full of promise and happiness. She wanted a loan of just $100 to start a business. She got this loan, set up her business and the whole family found a way out of poverty. That was a defining moment for me.
We can certainly help people realise their potential if we are willing to share our resources with them, I concluded. Poverty after all is not insurmountable. We collected more funds and started helping similar families, those who did not believe in doles and charity but wanted to work with honour and dignity. The journey continued and a movement was launched which ultimately crystallised into an institution, which today is the largest interest-free small loans programme in the world.
Serving more than 750,000 families in the last 14 years was not easy but leadership is about having a vision and implementing that vision with passion. Akhuwat’s philosophy hinges on sharing and sacrifice. It derives inspiration from spirit of compassion. We believe poverty cannot be reduced without compassion and love. Microfinance is merely a means to achieve an end and the end is a society where everyone has equal opportunities to fulfill his or her dreams.
Akhuwat is the outcome of great teamwork. My role was to induce and inspire people to define a common goal and achieve that goal efficiently and effectively. From a mere $100 to reach $110 million, the journey was full of perils and pitfalls but the faith always came to our rescue. Faith in our philosophy, faith in our sincerity of purpose and faith in people around us was the key towards success.