The Kashf Foundation, founded in 1996 asPakistan’s first specialized and women focused microfinance institution, commemoratestwo decades of pioneering social entrepreneurship and positivelyimpacting the lives of over 1.7 million low-income women in Pakistan.Over the past two decades, Kashf has successfully championed the case for women’s financial inclusion, and has shown that women are bankable, credit-worthy, effective business managers and sound decision-makers. At the same time, Kashf has continued to innovate on its suite of financial and non-financial services to ensure impact on the lives of women and their families.
Kashf has cumulatively disbursed over 2.8 million loans amounting to over PKR 44 billion to low-income households, which have helped them set-up/expand micro-businesses to increase their incomes, savings, and standard of living. These households have also been able to create safety nets through life and health insurance, and have been able to improve their financial management and business development skills through Kashf’s capacity building trainings. Kashf has also focused on addressing community level and societal obstacles to women’s economic empowerment through a vibrant social advocacy campaign centred around social theatre, gender justice trainings, and public service messages.
Speaking about Kashf Foundation’s 20 years, Roshaneh Zafar, Founder and Managing Director of Kashf Foundation, said “It is in an incredible achievement for all of us at Kashf to be celebrating two decades of socially driven entrepreneurship. The real heroes in these 20 years have been our clients who have persevered against all odds; take for example the story of Asmat Zahra who used to produce school-bags for a middle-man; work was erratic and the wages were low. She decided to access Kashf capital to start a business and today she produces around 400 school-bags per week and supplies them to multiple cities, earning handsome profits through which she is financially and economically independent. Kashf has been able to set a precedent for financial independence among women, a sense of empowerment and as means to better their income and lifestyle.”
In celebration of their 20 years, the Kashf Foundation have collaborated with Pakistan’s most iconic and indeed philanthropic fashion designer Hassan Sheheryar Yasin [HSY], who himself has been pioneering programs designed to empower marginalized women in Pakistan. To celebrate Kashf’s 20 years, HSY will be creating a one of its kind 20 piece collection where each piece represents the twenty years journey of Kashf and used the handiwork of twenty Kashf clients. The HSYKahsf collection is an ode to the craftswomen of Pakistan.