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The New Face Of Social Enterprise in Pakistan (Part II)

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Romana Sohail:

This is part II of III of our series on social enterprises in India and Pakistan.

In the recent years, the philanthropists and people with humanitarian motives have begun their service for the mankind through NGOs (Non- Government Organizations) and GROs (Grass Root Organizations) and given rise to the phenomenon of social entrepreneurship. In the past few years it has particularly gained importance particularly. Some of the influential NGOs in all the different parts of the world are viewed by different researchers and investigators as a viable and practical alternative for the government itself. Though this is a highly debatable issue, yet there is no denying the fact that these organizations through democratic methods of participation unlike the authoritarian attitudes of the governments are playing an enormous role in the help of the lower and middle class.

Many such NGOs are currently active in Pakistan. Though the methods and apparent motives of all these social entrepreneurs might be different yet the main motive is the same. Some of the most influential NGOs working in Pakistan include the following:

1. Zindagi Trust
Kashf Foundation
3. Sahara For Life Trust
4. Edhi Fondation

The Zindagi Trust was the brainchild of Shahzad Roy. This trust basically works for the better future of the poor children. It has launched many remarkable programmes for the help of these children who are the victims of child labour. One of the most amazing programmes of this trust is “Paid To Learn”.

In this programme, students are picked up from the streets and are enrolled in the free schools where they are no only given free education but also paid to learn. Every student of this school is paid Rs.20 for every three hours they spend learning at he school. This programme basically targets those students who are not enrolled in school because of poverty. Currently, with 34 schools and more that 2500 students this programme is rapidly making progress by leaps and bounds. In addition to this schooling programme, several mother and health care programmes and hospitals are also been maintained under this trust.

The Kashf Foundation is another such worth-mentioning NGO that helps the poor by providing them small loans. Working on the principle of microfinance and inspire by the Grameen bank of Bangladesh, this is the third largest NGO of Pakistan in terms of its size.

The most important of its motives is the empowerment of women by providing them with loans and currently more than 300000 women are benefiting from these schemes. The motto of Sadafffe ABidi the CEO of the Kashf Foundation is that they are not giving women charity instead they are only providing the women with better financial choices.

Another such NGO is the Sahara For Life Trust founded by the singer Abrar-ul-Haq. ; Sughra Shafi medical complex Narowal, the first project of Sahara, stands as a testament to the success of this trust from which thousands of patients have benefited.

The primary goal of Sahara For Life Trust is to serve the community. It is run on the concept of equality and social responsibility, implemented through a cross subsidization model. The income generated by the donations is used to cover the cost of treatment of the less privileged members of the community. Within a short span of time the Trust has established itself as a devoted, transparent and professional organization. The Trust is now recognized and registered as a leading charitable organization in Pakistan, U.K and U.S.A. It is also certified by the Pakistan Center for Philanthropy (PCP ) and U.N (under the charter of DESA).

Last but not the least is the Edhi Foundation started as a one-man show operating from a single room in Karachi is now the largest welfare organization in Pakistan.

The foundation has over 300 centers across the country, in big cities, small towns and remote rural areas, providing medical aid, family planning and emergency assistance. They own air ambulances, providing quick access to far-flung areas.

The social enterprises in Pakistan are growing, and emerging as the next big thing.

Drop in a comment below or mail us at, you can also tweet us at @YouthKiAwaaz.

The writer is the Pakistan correspondent at Youth Ki Awaaz and also a student of Science.


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  1. Arun

    Hi Rohana, nice write-up in this series that is being co-authored by us. 🙂 I was glad to read about the Zindagi Trust that has used such an innovative way to create an interest among the poor students to enroll in the school. It would be great if you can throw some light on the financial model of the same. Is it being funded by the government or is it dependent upon charity or does it have a revenu model of its own?

  2. Romana Sohail

    It is not being funded by the government (it is an NGO) dependent on charity and the founder's own revenue and indeed it is an amazing model which should be replicated in different parts bcz it also makes the parents of these children think that sending the children to school is not a loss as they are compensated for the money that the children might have earnt otherwise

  3. Saima_2999

    Interesting article. You have missed a very promising youth-led organization called YES Network Pakistan which has introduced the concept of youth social entrepreneurship in Pakistan. Visit their website:

  4. A.W.Qureshi

    I am chemist by profession and living in USA for last 38 years . I amreired and want to bring FIBREG LASS BOAT INDUSTRY MANUFACTURING I n Pakistan . My aim is advance the economy of pakistan . I believe without economic freedom you cannot succed in creating a democratic siciety . I will glad if somebody can guide me in this . My email address is .
    A.W qureshi

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