Zaitoon Bibi, having to support four children and a husband suffering from cancer, had an extremely hard time finding steady work in her hometown of Rawalpindi. Although her husband managed to get occasional work, Zaitoon Bibi was unemployed. Nevertheless, she was determined to take her family out of these circumstances. Although, the 61-year-old mother of four possessed the relevant furniture-making skills, she never had enough capital to utilize her skills and start a furniture business. She kept on looking for ways and means to set up her own shop before her quest led her way to Khushhalibank, a large microfinance bank, to avail its loan facility for setting up her business.
Within no time her loan was sanctioned and Zaitoon got to work and began to weave her business plans. The micro credit received from the bank enabled her to invest in requisite materials and tools for furniture making. With everything set up, she headed out to establish new contacts with suppliers, buyers and furniture dealers. It took her a while to earn their confidence but at the end of the day she returned home victorious with some good contracts in hand. The profit earned from the business allowed Zaitoon to purchase supplies from cities such as Chiniot and Faisalabad at much lower prices compared to the higher prices charged in Rawalpindi.
Zaitoon came to realize that she had the power to turn around her life and the confidence and strength that followed proved miraculous for her business. She was now driven to extend her business and push her limits so she could achieve her potential. Her actions and tireless efforts had a significant impact on her business and her hard work was bearing fruit. In an attempt to further increase her revenue and be in a position to accept the influx of orders, she hired five workers from her community to assist her in the work. Today, life seems to have taken a positive turn for Zaitoon and her family, as the once stay-at-home mom, is now earning a good income and is providing for all the expenses of her children including their education and marriages.
Now, in her seventh loan cycle, Zaitoon owns a residential plot, a furniture shop and has been able to purchase a motor bike for her son. She now not only earns for herself, but also provides employment opportunities to others by employing them in her business. Her circumstances rather than breaking her down have made her a confident and self-reliant person who knows she too can contribute positively to the world.
Zaitoon continues to weave more plans for her business and aspires to further expand it by opening up another shop. She also continues to brainstorm creative ideas and tap all new opportunities to empower herself and her community members to participate in her growing business. Thus a little determination, empowerment and support can go a long way as is evident from Zaitoon Bibi’s life altering journey.