In February 2017 I was lucky enough to visit our microfinance partner in Pakistan, Akhuwat. Please read my series of blogs to share my experience and insights into this inspiring organisation.
The borrowers at the Khana Nou branch are also funded by Lendwithcare lenders. During my visit I observed many people either making a repayment on their loan or submitting a new loan application.
While at the Khana Nou branch I was very lucky that the first entrepreneur in Pakistan to be funded by Lendwithcare lenders came into the branch. In April 2014 Muhammed Mansha took out a loan to buy thread for his carpet making business.
Later that day I visited Muhammed at his home business, just around the corner from the branch office. Muhammed's business has expanded since his first loan and he has been able to buy threads to make more blankets.
He sells the blankets to families in packs of 4. Muhammed earns around 25,000 rupees (nearly £200) per month from his business. I watched his wife winding the thread onto spools, to go onto the weaving machine that Muhammed operates with his hands and feet.
Click here to see a video of Muhammed at work operating his machine.
Samina Yasmeen runs a business recycling sweaters.
She has also expanded into purchasing used clothes, which she will sell on at a profit. With her Lendwithcare loan Samina has been able to buy more sweaters, and when I visited she was recycling them on a crude machine that she operated by hand. Although life is still tough for her and her family, their income has increased since the loan.
Click here to watch a video of Samina working to recycle jumpers into wool.
You can read more entrepreneur updates here on the updates page of the Lendwithcare website.
When an update is sent by an entrepreneur you have lent to, you will automatically receive an email to let you know. You can view updates by logging into your Lendwithcare account. We are working hard to get more updates from our partner microfinance institutions, and we expect the number will continue to grow.
Lastly, I then went on to see the 500th Akhuwat branch, inside the old walled city of Lahore. Although still simply furnished, this office is much more attractive than the other branches as it has to be in keeping with the historic and beautiful old walled city.
Even though it was a Sunday there was still a loan officer there to greet me. Fahmila joined Akhuwat after recently graduating. She heard about the job vacancy from her uncle, who is a borrower of Akhuwat.
I asked whether there were any difficulties being a female loan officer in Pakistan. Fahmila told me that the only difference is that when she goes to the field to appraise a business as part of the loan process, she needs to be accompanied by a male loan officer. She thinks she will be able to progress in her career at Akhuwat like any other staff member.
Head of Lendwithcare
Click here to read the next and final blog in the series: Learning more about Akhuwat