Last year, I interned at a microfinance organisation in Lahore, Pakistan, and the only reason I applied to it was because I needed something to do over the summers and I needed to get some experience with regards to the subject I was to pursue for my graduate studies. I just felt extremely relieved when I was called and told to come for an interview. I had gotten into the internship but I was being interviewed to become part of the core team: the team that would be handling the new batch of interns. This was even better. I was being given an authoritative role at an organisation I applied to at the last minute. What could be better?
However, once the internship started, I was extremely glad that I had applied. The name of the organisation is Akhuwat and it is a microfinance organisation but is slightly different from all other microfinance organisations. It adopts the principle from the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh and gives out interest-free loans. What was so amazing for me was that the recovery of loans is around 98%. I didn’t know what made the loanees return the money and when we started going on field visits, I realised why that was so. Everyone who works at the organisation is thoroughly steeped in the principle of brotherood, unity and equality. People trust this organisation and this trust has caused it to grow massively over the last two years. Borrowers welcomed us into their homes like any other guest and told us their life stories. It would be extremely hot and there would no fans but they would use handmade fans to make sure we were comfortable. Despite the little they had, they always made sure that they asked us (around 10 girls and boys) if we wanted water. They wanted to make us feel welcome and they wanted to treat us respectfully. They were extremely genuine and we could tell that the praises for the organisation were heart-felt. The founders of this organisation are extremely accessible and whenever there is a loan distribution ceremony in a mosque or a church, they are there for the entire process and do not leave until it’s over.
Not only does this organisation give loans, it offers free medical care, offers monthly stipends to transgenders so that they do not have to resort to the streets and it also offers terminally ill children a program similar to Make A Wish. It is called Make-A-Dream and all kinds of wishes have been fulfilled through the generosity of the organisation and the intern-transformed-volunteers.
All boundaries have been knocked down by the organisation and it is probably because of that that the loanees trust Akhuwat so much. I hadn’t expected much and I had lost hope for the social development of my country but when I interned here, I realised that such organisations exist and they are doing as much as they can to help make a difference. I am definitely going back this summer because I learnt a lot of new things and became more aware about everything that exists outside the happy bubble we all live in.
If you are interested in more details on this organisation, you can visit their Facebook page here:
At the moment, one of the volunteers from last years intern batch is running a support campaign and aims to collect 500 supporters. If you want to support this cause, you can visit this link:
All you need to do is support the cause through Facebook or Twitter. It would be extremely awesome if you could support this cause. All it needs is two minutes of your time! I would be extremely grateful. Also, if you want to share a similar experience, leave me a comment. Through the comments, you can also let me know if you supported the cause! I hope you all do and I’d like to thank you all in anticipation!!