Akhuwat is a not-for-profit organization established in 2021. It operates with the objective of providing interest-free microfinance to marginalized members of the society to enhance their standards of living and enable them to improve their livelihoods. The interest-free microfinance, although remaining the core program of Akhuwat, is recognized as means to an end, rather than an end in itself. Hence over the years, Akhuwat has developed various support mechanisms to cater to the diverse need of the poor. While implementing a more holistic approach to poverty alleviation, particular focus has been on education. Akhuwat considers access to quality education crucial to promoting welfare and laying down the foundations of a poverty-free society.Through a virtue-based approach towards poverty alleviation, Akhuwat has designed its various social and economic development activities as an expression of solidarity with the poor. Akhuwat’s vision of development is known as Mawakhat (meaning solidarity) – a paradigm of justice and compassion.
A poverty free society built on the principles of compassion and equity
To alleviate poverty by empowering socially and economically marginalized segments of the society through interest-free microfinance and education
To develop and sustain a social system based on mutual support where each individual lives a life full of respect and dignity
Iman or faith, is the human trust or belief in a transcendent reality that inspires a sense of responsibility and duty.
Ihsan – the literal meaning o Ihsan is ‘to do beautiful things’ such that in every act undertaken, you are striving towards excellence. Under the Mawakhat paradigm, Ihsan entails that each individual strives for excellence in character, work service and knowledge.
Ikhlas or purity, refers to sincerity of intention and action. It requires one to pursue goodness for the sake of goodness alone and thus be free from pretense, deceit or hypocrisy.
Infaq is giving in the way of Allah that loosely translates into ‘spending without reward from anyone but Allah. As a means of equitable income distribution, it remains the same for the poor and rich one must give according to their ability to those who have comparatively lesser resources.The pillars of Mawakhat taken together create Ikwha/Akhuwat that transforms the sprit of solidarity into brotherhood. Akhuwat takes its name from this concept and through its operation, presents a practical manifestation of Mawakhat.
“Poverty in not just about lack of resources; it’s about isolation and deprivation-the deprivationof support networks, justice and morality. Poverty, in its worst from, is poverty of hope”
Dr. Muhammad Amjad Saqib, founder of Akhuwat , is a development practitioner, social entrepreneur, write and a former civil servant. On account of his remarkable achievements in restoring human dignity to Pakistan’s most vulnerable communities through financial inclusion, education, healthcare, and the presenting of food and cloths, Dr. Saqib has received world-wide recognition. Most recently, he has been presented with the commonwealth’s 31st Point of Light Award by Queen Elizabeth II. He has also been awarded “Sitara-e-Imtiaz” by the President of Pakistan.Dr. Saqib’s life has been a quest to live a life of meaning through service to people. He started his professional pursuits as a doctor and later joined the Pakistan Civil Service. After having served at various high-level bureaucratic positions, he resigned from the Civil Services to devote his life to Akhuwat. Since then, he also supported various public and private institutions, and played an instrumental role in setting up different service-delivery institutions in Pakistan. He continues to play advisory roles for organizations and start-ups that are working to promote social welfare. His most distinguished contribution is still as of yet, the establishment of Akhuwat, and the implementation of an innovative approach to poverty alleviation.
AKHUWAT – ISLAMIC MICROFINANCE
Akhuwat Islamic Microfinance provides interest-free loans to the underprivileged to help them in create sustainable pathways out of poverty. Operating in every corner of Pakistan, Akhuwat now runs the largest interest-free microfinance program in the world, Alhamdulliah. It works through religious places, fostering and harnessing the spirit of volunteerism, aspiring to transform its borrowers into agents of change. Since it’s inception in 2001,hundreds of thousands of poor families have been supported through Akhuwat’s interest-free microfinance loans. The trust and ownership of the program felt by poor communities is evident in Akhuwat’s 99.9% loan repayment rate. Its unique microfinance program has won many accolades, in Pakistan and abroad, and it’s innovate approach to poverty alleviation is studied in universities around the world. Akhuwat Islamic Microfinance is supported by Ehsaas Pakistan and Governments of Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Gilgit-Baltistan, and Azad Kashmir.
Interest-free micro loans: Akhuwat provides loans with zero interest as it firmly believes that poverty cannot be eradicated by charging interest doing business with the poor.
Religious Places: Akhuwat uses religious spaces including mosques, churches and temples as places for loans to be disbursed. These spaces inculcate an ethos of transparency, participation, accountability and tolerance while also minimizing operational costs.
Volunteerism: Akhuwat’s operations rely upon the passion, dedication and zeal of its volunteers who dedicates their time, talent and resources to Akhuwat’s cause.
Transforming Borrowers into Donors: Akhuwat strives to empower its borrowers, so they are in a position to be givers one day, contributing to the goal of a poverty free society.
Diversity and Inclusion: Akhuwat strongly believes in solidarity and brotherhood. In all its functions, Akhuwat ensures inclusion of all members of the society irrespective of their religion, caste, colour or creed.
AKHUWAT HEALTH SERVICES
Akhuwat Health Services (AHS) serves the poor through affordable, efficient and effective health care. AHS provides subsidized medicines, lab tests, free examination and consultation to those families that are unable to afford basic health care. In 2009, AHS set up a health center in Township, Lahore that now houses a Diabetes Center, Gynecology Clinic, Psychiatric Clinic and a General Clinic. It continues to be run by compassionate medical professionals who devote their talents and time to serve the poor. The AHS also provides terminally ill-children from low income families with ‘gifts of their dreams’. It has set up playrooms in public hospitals for children offering a refuge for children and their families who often spend months at an end in hospital wards.
AKHUWAT FELLOWSHIP PROGRAM
The annual Akhuwat Fellowship Program seeks to build and cultivate a community of changemakers, serving as a platform to enable people and organization to unlock their potential to drive social change. Launched in 2011 as an internship program, Akhuwat has now trained over a thousand young adults to play their part in resolving the varied and complex development challenges facing the world today.During their time at Akhuwat interns get extensive exposure to the various facets of Akhuwat via a comprehensive social development training platform. Their exposure combined with field work, project development and research provides them with the skills needed to excel in their filed.
AKHUWAT KHWAJASIRA SUPPORT PROGRAM
The social and economic exclusion of the Khwajasira (the Third Gender) community has left them dependent on alms, vulnerable to violence and increasingly susceptible to abuse. The Akhuwat Khwajasira Support Program (AKSP) seeks to create a system of support for members of the Khwajasira community over the age of forty through economic and social interventions. Since 2012, hundreds of members have been registered across the country and are supported through direct financial assistance, health services and psychological support. Akhuwat remains a steadfast champion of the rights of trans people and through the AKSP, actively fight against the prejudice and isolation of the Khwajasira community in Pakistan.
AKHUWAT CLOTHES BANK
Akhuwat Clothes Bank collects, sorts and cleans donated clothing and gifts them to low-income families. These clothes are packed and gifted to poor families through stalls set up outside religious centers, branmces of Akhuwat and in low-income neighborhoods. Through the Clothes Bank, Akhuwat seeks to promote simple, compassionate, and eco-friendly lifestyles by urging a culture of sharing and recycling. Established in 2013, the Clothes Bank also employs and trains trans people to run its various programs. Thousands of clothing items, home textiles, furniture, toys and books have been distributed throughout every corner of Pakistan to poor families through this initiative.
KASUR MAWAKHAT PROGRAM
The Kasur MawaKhat Program (KMP) is a participatory rural development program that mobilizes and organizes local communities to lead their own development projects in their villages. Launched in 2014 in a single village in district Kasur, Pakistan, it now has spread to seven other adjoining villages. Hundreds of men and women have been mobilized and are working to uplift their families and communities out of poverty. By supporting the people to realize their own potential to devise, implement and monitor development in rural Pakistan, it is hoped that the Kasur MawaKhat Program will spread other rural areas in the country in the coming years.and are working to uplift their families and communities out of poverty. By supporting the people to realize their own potential to devise, implement and monitor development in rural Pakistan, it is hoped that the Kasur MawaKhat Program will spread other rural areas in the country in the coming years.
AKHUWAT TOURIST ASSISTANCE PROGRAM
The Akhuwat Tourist Assistance Program (TAP), supports local families in Gilgit Baltistan to set up quality lodging establishments in their homes for tourists. TAP seeks to spur economic activity for the locals while at the same time offer an authentic local experience for the tourist. Through the TAP, Akhuwat seeks to bring attention to the wealth-creating power of tourism for poor communities particularly in Gilgit-Baltistan, where tourism can be a strong drive of prosperity in the region.
Akhuwat Learning Hubs: The Learning Hub provides education and vocational training to children of unknown parentage, operating in urban alleys plagued by drugs, prostitution and violence. The learning Hub seeks to provide children with educational, health, vocational, recreational and counseling services. However. in order for the Learning Hubs to have a deeper impact on children, they have been working with parents and grandparents, creating a communal, safe space for all citizens to come together. Streets that were once laced with drugs peddlers and brothels are being transformed into hubs for learning, sharing and support.
Akhuwat Jugnu School: The first years of a child’s life sets the stage for all future growth, yet many children in Pakistan are not receiving the attention required in these years for healthy development. Jugnu School in Chakwal, is Akhuwat’s first pre-school where children from low-income families are provided with relevant and quality learning opportunities.
NJV School: Narain Jagannath Vaidya High School is Sindh’s first public school established in 1855 that over the years has became a victim of neglected, losing its place as a center of academic excellence. Since 2015, Akhuwat has devoted itself to restoring this historical building, and today NJV is again a site for educational and holistic training for its students which works in partnership with the Government of Sindh.
Public School Support Program: Through the Public School Support Program, Akhuwat has collaborated with the Government of Punjab to restore more than 4,000 nonfunctioning schools and has adopted over 350 public primary schools in six districts of Punjab, where it provides quality education and improved academic facilities.
Established in 2015, Akhuwat College is a residential college that houses and educates bright, young people selected on merit from all corners of Pakistan. The college caters to students from low-income households who despite their talent and desire to pursue education, are unable to do so due to financial constraints. Each student has a unique tale of struggle and hardship in attaining their basic education, yet they are unified by their pursuit of knowledge. The aim of the college is not only to provide these young people with quality education, but also on cultivate their unique talents, inspiring a deeper sense of ethics, and inculcating the values of discipline, hard-work and volunteerism.
AKHUWAT FAISALABAD INSTITUTE OF RESEARCH SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Through Akhuwat’s partnership with the Faisalabad Institute of Research Science & Technology (FIRST), students from all over Pakistan are being offered four-year undergraduate degree in the sciences, with a special focus on Biotechnology. Established in 2015, Akhuwat-FIRST is a well-equipped university, covering an area of more than 38,000 square feet, complete with sport facilities, computer and research labs fitted with the latest information technology and equipment. To ensure that students from all social and economic background have access to quality education, Akhuwat-FIRST provides merit and needs-based scholarships to hundreds of students enrolled in the university.
AKHUWAT COLLEGE FOR WOMEN
Akhuwat College for Women is based on the firm belief that no nation can progress without investing in the education of women. Located in Chakwal, the Akhuwat College for Women is a residential facility that houses female students from all over the country. Young women receive merit-based admissions with reserved seats from different provinces and administrative regions of Pakistan. By giving them a safe space to find the support and encouragement they need to take risks, push boundaries and succeed in their personal and professional lives, it is here that women are trained to become the leaders of tomorrow.
Located in Kasur, Akhuwat University will be Pakistan’s first non-profit university where students will pay their fees according to their means. Through a range of financial instruments including scholarships and interest-free loans, Akhuwat will ensure equal access to quality education to all eligible students. The University embodies Akhuwat’s long-term vision of development and prosperity by creating and preparing a new generation of leaders that will transform their communities and country.
AKHUWAT – PARWAAZ
For Akhuwat, the alleviation of poverty is a moral activity driven by compassion, guided by the principle of justice and equality. At Parwaaz, we believe in heeling communities and fostering supportive relationships conducive to well-being so that together, we can eradicate injustices and realize our shared vision of a poverty-free society. As a project of Akhuwat, Parwaaz aims to inspire, nurture and support changemakers. Since its inception in October 2018, Parwaaz has established a Holistic Learning Centre, co-working spaces, a training hub, and a research cell. It runs two flagship programs; monthly Baithaks and an annual Fellowship Program. Through these core functions, Parwaaz provides a safe space for intellectual reflection and dialogue, for learning and un-learning, and for working both independently and collectively to transform our worlds.
A NOTE OF THANKS
Akhuwat would not be where it is today if it were not for the support of Akhuwat’s family – its volunteers and doctors. Akhuwat’s donors and volunteers hail from all walks of life serving as ambassador of change.Standing tall with them are the unsung heroes of Akhuwat, our staff that is working undauntedly, day and night to spread the message of solidarity. It is through their commitment to the philosophy of MawaKhat that today Akhuwat has been able to support 3 million families.This monumental occasion is dedicated to acknowledging each individual for their role in bringing forth social change. Their compassion knows no bound, and acts to reinforce and renew Akhuwat’s belief in the power that we an hold within ourselves.