Back to School with Riffat - Our Autumn Kiva Entrepreneur

Eagle-eyed readers may have noticed it’s been a little while since we’ve mentioned our Kiva borrower of the month.

It’s not that we’ve been slacking or that we don’t care any more- far from it- but rather that we’ve been doing a bit of thinking about how our loans could have a greater impact for their recipients. As a result, we’ve decided to make bigger loans to four entrepreneurs who really resonate with us, for each of the four seasons.

So without further ado, we’d love to introduce our Kiva entrepreneur for Autumn, Riffat from Rawalpindi, Pakistan, who is seeking a loan of $675 to start up her own sewing training centre.

Autumn is a season of change - weather which can go from t-shirt temperatures to hail at the drop of a hat, trees shedding their leaves, shortening days. It always feels like ‘back to school’ time to us; however old we get, the urges to buy shiny shoes and open a fresh notebook for the first time remain just as strong.

Perhaps this is the reason Riffat’s education-themed project appealed to us so much. An expert in sewing, stitching and embroidery, she has been running a successful business from the rented home she shares with her three small children and husband in order to supplement his sporadic painting income.

This entrepreneurship is impressive enough in and of itself, but Riffat’s talent has been noticed by the local girls, who have begun to flock to her, keen to learn to sew too.

Rather than just continue with the informal lessons she has been giving them on her one simple sewing machine, Riffat has decided to purchase five more machines - two of which will be computerised, in response to the overwhelming demand from the girls.

The loan, which will be fulfilled by BRAC Pakistan, a microfinance institution providing marginalised women with more opportunities for income-generating activities, in order to empower them socially and financially, will be repaid using Riffat’s own income.

Her explanation for why she wants to invest in training the girls around her, in one of the poorest parts of Pakistan, is touching in its simplicity.

“I want to be an inspiration for my children and my neighbours.”

We wish Riffat all the luck in the world with acheiving her goals - and have no doubt she is already inspiring those around her. If you would also like to contribute to her funding, you can do so here.

About the Author: Alice Perry

Alice Perry

Alice is Inkspiller’s project manager. She oversees all that we do, and thinks there is no task that can’t be improved by the making of a bulleted list.

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