Friday, 24 April 2015

Impressions from a first time visit to Pakistan

Most cities have them ... In fact most towns, villages and neighbourhoods do too. The lofty saying that marks that particular place out from all the rest. London’s is the famous Samuel Johnson quote that says "those that are tired of London are tired of life." So it was not surprising when I visited the cultural heart of Pakistan a couple of weeks ago, Lahore, that I was informed by many proud Lahoris that I could now count myself amongst the ranks of those lucky enough to say they have truly lived. As the famous Punjabi quote goes, those who have not seen Lahore have not been born.

Shakeel, Joana and I outside the Lahore Cultural Museum

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Tackling gender inequality in Pakistan | The Akhuwat clothes bank initiative

Following his recent trip to Pakistan, Dr Ajaz Ahmed Khan tells us about a very interesting project implemented by our MFI partner AKHUWAT.

Guriya, who works in the Clothes Bank
Transgender persons, or khwaja siras as they are often referred to in Pakistan, routinely face a high level of discrimination in access to health, housing, education and employment as well as ridicule, intimidation and the threat of physical violence. Most khwaja siras are forced to live at the margins of society and earn an income by dancing at ceremonies such as weddings and births, and most commonly from begging. In an almost unprecedented example of positive discrimination Dr Amjad Saqib, the founder and executive director of Akhuwat, Lendwithcare’s partner in Pakistan, decided when he established a clothes bank in May of last year to only employ khwaja siras to sort, repair, clean and pack the clothes. Such regular employment opportunities are almost unheard of for transgender persons. Akhuwat now employs six full-time khwaja siras, namely Naghma, Naina, Guriya, Faisal, Moshin Deedar and Guru Taj, in the clothes bank which is based in Akhuwat’s head office in Lahore.

Friday, 10 April 2015

The new Lendwithcare website - a lender perspective

I’ve been using the old Lendwithcare website since 2013, and although I didn’t have any major problems with it there were signs it was starting to show its age, having been originally launched back in 2010. It was great to discover it was going to be getting a lick of paint, as well incorporating some other changes suggested by existing lenders, and so I jumped at the chance to kick the tyres on the new site before it launched.

Behind the scene shots of the website redesign process