What would this world be without poverty? This is a burning question that has been finding answers across Pakistan for years. In this fireside session hosted in collaboration with Sang-e-Meel Publications which is a publishing house focused on the promotion of South Asian literature, they have published numerous books of Dr. Amjad Saqib amongst many other notable writers.
Our next guest sits at the head of the world’s largest Islamic interest free micro insurance organizations. Philanthropist, writer, development professional, recipient of the Sitara-e-Imtiaz, the Commonwealth Point of Light award and the Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award at the World Economic Forum are just some accolades presented to the great Dr. Muhammad Amjad Saqib. After resigning from civil service, he devotedly pursued his mission of philanthropy and went on to provide consultancy services to the International Labour Organization, UNICEF, World Bank and many more on his areas of expertise which include poverty alleviation, microfinance, social mobilization and education management. He founded Akhuwat in 2001 and operated it in places of worship to provide millions of people access to interest free loans. Akhuwat runs the largest individual based lending programme in the country and is referred to in many international universities as a unique and innovative model in the field of microfinance.
Dr. Amjad Saqib has given us the privilege to understand some extremely useful information beginning with the Success of an idea and how ideas become successful when they truly fit the societal needs and requirements.
According to statistics, 40% of Pakistan’s underprivileged population (above and below the poverty line) has always suffered from a financial crisis due to the lack of amenities the establishment has availed for them and during covid-19 even more so.
Dr. Amjad Saqib spoke about the two most important things citizens must embody to envision a better future: “rights and obligations”, It’s only after you identify your obligations can you collectively secure rights for the betterment of everyone.
Apart from the covid-19 relief efforts that Akhuwat particularly designed for society in the form of ration bags, kits of health workers and financial assistance to those in remote areas, Akhuwat is actively trying to make skilled individuals independent, self-reliant and entrepreneurial so they can work towards better futures. One of the most important highlights in Akhuwat’s endeavors is to pay close attention to the niche of those individuals above the poverty line who are under privileged yet skilled and also would not beg for a living. It is the futures of these individuals Akhuwat aims to change by making them self-sustainable people. The entire concept of providing interest free loans to this segment of the population is a catalyst to improve the well being . Saqib said “it is not a matter of pride to have helped five hundred people stand on their feet as they are able to pay back without the burden of any additional cost but more so to produce five hundred people who are well to do just like ourselves” it is in this act that we can term a sustainable effort.
The virtue cycle is what sets Akhuwat apart from other charitable organizations. Their goal is to establish a cycle that keeps passing on the virtue until nobody is found less fortunate. When one is setting out to do something good, time spreads in their favor and just like that Akhuwat found time being on its side every day. Akhuwat wants to make a significant difference by establishing a system that can be sustained with permanence for all times to come. Dr. Saqib’s most important message to everyone is: “You can forget this organization and what it does but do not forget your obligations towards a greater cause. Even if it is one friend, a relative or a family member, you must put your best foot forward not to help but empower them”.