Razia, a mother of two from Sheikhupura, would rely on her husband to sustain their family until he began finding it difficult to find work and earn money.
Struggling to make ends meet and left with little or no choices, she decided to do something herself. “I had never worked earlier, and it was tough, but I made myself strong in the face of adversity”, recalls Razia, who opened a shop in her village after her husband lost his job.
“Our living conditions were deteriorating, and my children were not attending school. Then one day, representatives of the Nestlé BISP Rural Women Sales Program got in touch with me and after some discussions, facilitated me to get a loan from Akhuwat”.
The Nestlé BISP Rural Women Sales Program provides livelihood opportunities to deserving rural women, helping them become financially independent. Under this program, rural women are trained on the fundamentals of sales, pricing, and profit margin and are made aware of product nutritional benefits and methods of preparation and use.
The loan Razia received through this program is a part of the PKR 2 million funds that Nestlé has extended to Akhuwat Pakistan as revolving credit to give as micro-loans to rural women to do
business. Razia used this loan to set up a shop and keep affordable nutritious products including Nestlé Bunyad, Cerelac, every day, and Nesfruita.
Soon, she began making reasonable sales and today her incremental income is almost Rs. 4000, which she uses to run the house, and has put her children in school. She believes that wives must work alongside their husbands to improve their living conditions and is a testament to that belief herself.
On this International Day of Rural Women, it is essential to remember and honor women like Razia who are critical agents for achieving sustainable development and contributing significantly to the economy and communities.
What do you think of the story? Tell us in the comments section below.