With two small kids to look after by myself life was awful. I lived with my mother. My brother was married but unemployed and he lived with us. We could barely feed ourselves twice a day, constantly worrying over fixing the next meal. I couldn’t get enough money to buy milk for my kids. When we were lucky I would mix water to make it suffice. I found a sewing job in my neighborhood, but I had no sewing machine of my own. I requested my employers to buy me one. That is when they told me about Akhuwat. I took a loan of five thousand rupees and bought a machine. For one year I struggled against the odds. Then I took another loan of eight thousand rupees and used it to prepare three dresses of zari which I managed to send to England with an uncle of mine. It went very well and with two successive loans, I began to prepare fancy bridal clothes and sending them abroad.
We are settled now. My eldest son goes to a private school. I pay eight hundred rupees as his school fee and five hundred rupees for tuition. My younger child has some lung problem and needs to undergo an operation which I can pay for. I have even bought a fridge. I am happy that I stand on my own feet, thanks to Akhuwat. This organization has a lot of barkat in its money because it is free of interest.
We had a hard time meeting our expenses. Our family was large: my parents in law, six children, my husband and I, a total of ten. My husband who is a mechanic was the only one who worked and how much could he earn? I wanted to help so I started making rose arq (nectar) to sell. But it was hard to keep it up because every time I had to ask around for a large boiling pot and the special machine used for the purpose. A neighbor advised me to ask Akhuwat. I took a loan of seven thousand rupees and bought chemicals required for the process. Instead of going around for a machine I rented one and paid one hundred rupees as daily rental fees. Then I took another loan of twelve thousand rupees and bought a small machine and material for my business. With a third loan of twelve thousand rupees I purchased a bigger machine and my own cauldron. My business is steady now and I am proud to use my own things rather than borrowed ones. I am able to make a fair contribution to my household and side by side paying back Akhuwat’s loan. I no longer have nagging worries and my family situation is quite well. We eat three times a day. I thank Akhuwat for all the difference it has made in our lives.
Some seven years ago, I had to separate from my extended family. All I had was Rs. 10,000 and a roof of only one lowly-maintained room. The ice-cream manufacturing company I was working in also sacked me this very while. With a wife and 4 little children, making an honest living seemed a far-cry to me. I needed only a few thousand rupees to stand on my own. However, my uncles, brothers, and other relatives repeatedly showed me a red card when I went to them to ask for some money so that I could start my own shop of cycle repairing. On one lucky day, in all my despair, I ran into a person in my neighborhood who advised me to go to the Akhuwat office for a loan. But I showed reluctance because I always avoided sweet-coated interest-based loans which result in complete social and economic chaos for anyone taking such a loan. However, that person ensured me of Akhuwat as being a completely interest-free microfinance organization.
One day, I went to Akhuwat and got at once astonished by the simple procedure they undertook to lend me the first loan of Rs. 10,000. Trust me, with the money in my hand, tears rushed out of my eyes. I could not believe it! It was certainly the strength of this Islamic nature of the loan that my small business flourished in no time. I returned the first loan; then cleaved to another for Rs. 30,000 and started manufacturing cycles; and yet recently I acquired another loan of Rs. 25000 to add to Rs. 300,000 that I recently paid for the purchase of a plot (with total cost Rs. 700,000) in which I will, Insha-Allah, soon expand my cycle manufacturing unit.
Today, as a small factory owner, within 7 years, all my children studying in English medium schools, and with a happy family supported with honest, interest-free living, I feel myself the luckiest person on earth. And this all was made a reality only by Akhuwat. I don’t have words to express my gratefulness to Akhuwat.
As a disable person, I have faced the harsh reality of life more than a normal person. With my tri-wheel motor-cycle, the only way I made my meager living some 4 years ago was to vend out mobile phone accessories in a nearby market. However, I was in a complete fix. We found it hard to make both ends meet on a daily basis. In the meanwhile, through someone I came to know of Akhuwat and the way they go about. Often, I felt an urge to go to them and ask for some loan. However, I fought shy of taking the final decision mainly because of my disability and because of my much lower social status. One brave day, I went to them. I was sure of being turned down. But what happened there was out of my imagination. Akhuwat’s Dr. Amjad Saqib talked to me very politely and charismatically, and within 15 days I had got hold of my first loan of Rs. 5,000. I increased the accessories and toys. My income moving up, I returned the first loan and immediately got another of Rs. 12,000 and boosted up my business even more. My success story has since then carried on and recently I have taken a third loan of Rs. 45000 to make my dream come true: I am building a shop where I will move very soon!
Akhuwat is a blessing because of being an interest-free microfinance organization; also the high moral values that Dr. Amjad Saqib and his entire team have to deal with the poor like me are truly characteristic of Islamic teachings.