Dr Amjad Saqib created Pakistan’s largest microfinance institution
Islamabad: Microfinance trailblazer who developed Pakistan’s largest microfinance institution and helped millions of families, has been awarded Asia’s equivalent to the Nobel Prize.
Muhammad Amjad Saqib, 64, was one of five recipients of the Ramon Magsaysay Award for “his intelligence and compassion” that enabled him to create the largest microfinance institution in Pakistan, his “inspiring belief that human goodness and solidarity will find ways to eradicate poverty” and determination to help people.
Since its inception in 2001, the Akhuwat microfinance institution, founded by Dr Saqib, has grown into Pakistan’s largest microfinance institution, distributing 4.8 million interest-free loans worth Rs140 billion (US$900 million) and boasting a 99.9 per cent loan repayment rate, the award foundation said.
The charity also supports education initiatives including 301 schools and three colleges for students who cannot afford quality education. The foundation is set to launch first-of-its-kind tuition-free Akhuwat University to offer free education to deserving youth.
In the last two decades, Dr Amjad has opened over 800 branches in 400 cities across Pakistan, enabling millions to become self-reliant. The foundation also provided free of charge treatment to 500,000+ hepatitis and diabetes patients.
The non-profit organization is breaking new ground in the fight against poverty with its approach to poverty alleviation based on the values of the Islamic tradition of Mawakhat (solidarity). The core strategy comes from the Prophet Mohammad’s (PBUH) teaching that if one has a loaf of bread, half of it rightfully belongs to a person who has none. “This philosophy of solidarity is the driving force behind all of Akhuwat’s programs and practices” according to the foundation.
Prime Minister Imran Khan congratulated Saqib for winning “Asia’s highest honour”. He said that “We are proud of his achievement as we move forward in creating a welfare state based on Riyasat-e-Madina Model.”
Amjad Saqib is also the recipient of Pakistan’s Sitara-a-Imtiaz award, Islamic Economic Award presented by Crown Prince Dubai, 2018 Social Entrepreneur of the Year award by Schwab Foundation and World Economic Forum (WEF) and the Commonwealth’s 31st Point of Light Award awarded by Queen Elizabeth.
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