A 48-year-old beneficiary of the Islamic Relief loan scheme in Pakistan has been awarded a micro entrepreneurship award by Citi Bank and the Pakistan Poverty alleviation fund.
Mian Riaz was presented with the award for his work with street children, the unemployed and poor women. Riaz runs two schools as well as a vocational training centre. His success is down to the loans he obtained from Islamic Relief and investing them in his education scheme. To ensure that everyone gets an equal chance at education Riaz relaxes fees, his policy on uniforms and even provides free books for those attending his schools.
In his local area Riaz has worked endlessly to try and convince parents to send their children to school rather than go out onto the streets to beg. He has even reached out to women who beg by providing them with vocational education. He is trying to assist the women further by attempting to gain support for small business development which would enable the women to establish their own micro-enterprises.
Riaz came through a very competitive selection process to win the award which looked at people from across the country. Ms. Hina Rabbani Khar, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs spoke at the awards ceremony and acknowledged Islamic Relief’s efforts in microfinance as one of the tools to help eradicate poverty and strengthening communities and individuals.
Mr. Fadlullah Wilmot, Country Director of Islamic Relief, said: “This award is recognition of the dedication of Islamic Relief’s work to use microfinance as one of the tools to eliminate poverty as well as empowering communities”.
Poverty continues to be one of Pakistan’s most pressing and chronic problems. The poorest households spend at least 70% of their income on food – having stark consequences for their ability to afford health and education services. A range of conventional micro-finance schemes operate in Pakistan, but many drive poor people further under with their interest charges.
We have been helping families in the urban slums of Punjab and Islamabad for 10 years. Our Islamic micro-finance project provides interest-free loans so that entrepreneurs can earn a living. With these small loans, some of Pakistan’s most vulnerable people can get started on their own small enterprise, or even expand their business. This programme has provided close to half-a-million pounds in loans to over 3000 families for micro businesses, benefitting more than 20,000 individuals.
If you would like to see more success stories like Mian Riaz’s and help Islamic Relief to bring positive change in some of the world's most vulnerable communities, then please donate today.