Interest-free microfinance has become very popular amongst Muslims. The reason for its popularity lies with the Islamic principles that make its foundation where one does not have to pay any interest. The loans granted are interest-free and based on Islamic values and in accordance with Quranic teachings.
Countries like Germany which are called economic giants follow the principles of microfinancing. Although they are the makers of BMW, Mercedes, yet they do not base their economy on bigger industries but rather focus on the smaller ones. Similarly, Pakistan has many non-profit organizations which are successfully practicing the interest-free lending of money to the ones in need. One such organization is Akhuwat.
The basic idea behind Akhuwat was to eliminate poverty from the country. The idea was presented back in 2001 in Lahore, where the first interest-free loan of Rs. 10,000/- was given to a widow as an experiment by the Chairperson of the Akhuwat Foundation, Dr. Amjad Saqib. She returned the loan within six months and thus the first stone for Akhuwat was laid. The chain of donations continued and the sole aim of Akhuwat became to alleviate poverty by providing interest-free loans to deserving people and entrepreneurs to expand their businesses thus contributing in empowering marginalized families, economically and socially.
The name Akhuwat is derived from ‘Mwakhaat’ or Brotherhood. It entails the creation of a system which is based on mutual support and fraternity in the society. The word ‘Akhuwat’ gets its name by following the example set by the Ansars (citizens of Medina) and the Muhajireen (or Meccans) who had migrated to Medina to escape religious persecution. Akhuwat is inspired by this concept and thus supports sharing of wealth with the poor and needy of the society.
The existing focus of Akhuwat Foundation is to provide:
Interest-free micro loans services to underprivileged or young entrepreneurs thus enabling them to become self-reliant
Transform the Akhuwat borrowers into donors
Respectable livelihood to the lower class of the society
Akhuwat Foundation provides the following microfinance loans:
Family Enterprise Loan: Ranges from Rs. 10,000/- to Rs. 30,000/-. It is provided to start or expand the business.
Liberation Loan: The limit of this loan is Rs. 50,000/-. It is for repayment of loans taken from
Education Loan: The upper limit for this loan is Rs. 25,000/-. It helps the poor to finance their children education.
Health Loan: This loan caters the ones who cannot afford healthcare facilities. It ranges from Rs. 10,000/- to Rs. 20,000/-.
Emergency Loan: This loan is for unforeseen events or emergencies. This loan ranges from Rs. 5,000/- to Rs. 10,000/-.
Housing Loan: This loan is for the construction of necessary renovation of the home. It ranges from Rs. 30,000/- to Rs. 70,000/- and has to be repaid within two years.
Marriage Loan: The marriage loan is to assist marriage of daughters. Rs. 20,000/- can be given for this purpose.
Apart from providing interest-free microfinance to the underprivileged, the organization has expanded its services across the country including:
Akhuwat Clothes Bank
The Akhuwat Clothes Bank works on the same philosophy as that of microfinancing. Clothes from well-to-do families are collected, repaired, washed, dried and are packed. These clothes are then distributed among the poor communities of the society.
Transgenders are employed in the clothes bank where they carry out operations of sorting, washing, stitching, ironing, and packing the clothes collected. This gives them the opportunity to earn a respectable livelihood.
Akhuwat Educational Services
Akhuwat has adopted 150+ schools all over Pakistan including NJV School which is the oldest public school in Sindh as well as the leading institution in the country providing free quality education. Akhuwat College in Lahore provides free education to the poor and needy. Another project is in the line, the Akhuwat University, which will be Pakistan’s first no-fee university, allowing children from marginalized communities to come and study free of cost.
They have also started a movement called ‘Buy a Brick – Build a University’, where all you have to do is buy a brick for Rs. 1000/- and become part of building a university in Lahore.
24HOURS.PK is an emerging eCommerce industry which brings you the best deals from all over Pakistan and now has joined hands with the Akhuwat Foundation to bring about a positive change in our society. This two-way partnership will prove to be beneficial for the betterment of the underprivileged class.
Under Red Wings, a collaborative initiative by Akhuwat and Developments in Literacy, marginalized female entrepreneurs from Orangi town are provided seed money by Akuwat. They use this seed money to produce a wide range of beautiful, hand embroidered handicrafts. These handicrafts will be available on the website of 24HOURS.PK from where you can buy them. When you buy a handicraft from 24HOURS.PK the proceeds will be directly donated to the Akhuwat Foundation and 24HOURS.PK will bear the marketing and logistics expenses too.
24HOURS.PK and Akhuwat have also enabled the general public to become part of Pakistan’s first fee-free university for the underprivileged. You can now donate Rs. 100/-, Rs. 200/-, Rs. 300/-, Rs. 500/-, Rs. 750/- and Rs. 1000/- via 24HOURS.PK to build a brighter future for Pakistan. When you will buy these deals, the proceeds will directly go to Akhuwat Foundation once the amount is cleared via Easypay.
Show your support towards the betterment of our country. So head over to 24HOURS.PK and donate generously. Your donations can send someone to university.