Without education and resources at one’s disposal, surviving as a single woman in this society is a challenge. However, there are examples of women who, with little head start, have overcome odds to not only survive but also flourish. The journey of Azra Bibi is one such example.
Azra Bibi’s story is of a woman whose humble background didn’t stop her from becoming a successful micro-entrepreneur. Her small business struggle helped her become the breadwinner of her family and that of four other families as well.
Coming from a very small town of Havelian, her family of seven had very few resources to sustain themselves. As misfortune had it, Azra Bibi’s husband met with a serious accident where both his kidneys failed and was suddenly unable to provide for his family. Already living from neck to neck, Azra Bibi had to take charge of her family on her own. But the question was: how could she create a running source of income.
It was during this ordeal that a loan officer of Khushhali Microfinance Bank Limited (KMBL) reached out to the family and offered them microloan to start off with a small shop in their area. Azra Bibi did not hesitate and took the opportunity to take her first loan from KMBL in 2014. Azra Bibi’s business sense helped her utilize the capital at hand in the right manner and make good use of her loan for the family’s future.
She opened a local embroidery shop with the first loan she received. From here, she started getting a minor income to cover essential living costs. The journey was not easy. Azra Bibi had to provide for five of her kids and one seriously ill husband while managing a newly-formed business. But with the support of her family and strong determination, it started to pay off really well. As her business acquired stability, the family’s standard of living began to improve. All her children resumed their education in decent institutes and her husband began to gain health.
After 7 years of struggle, Azra Bibi is now the owner of a bigger shop with four other employees working under her. She took great advantage of the loans provided by KMBL where she not only laid the foundations of her family’s income but was also able to scale up her business to create job opportunities for four other families in her vicinity. She is now working for a wider vision of adding more product lines in her existing business setup where she has recently introduced embroidered clothes by using her sewing and embroidery skills.
Azra Bibi’s story is not in isolation. There are many examples of women who built themselves out of nothing with the support of KMBL’s microloans. Khushhali Microfinance Bank is in a constant effort to provide easy access to working capital to striving micro-entrepreneurs of Pakistan. Azra Bibi depicts the very vision that KMBL is striving to achieve.