Irshad Bibi has long had dreams of building a better life for herself, her children, and the rest of her family. “I come from a humble family,” Bibi explains, “where [money] was always an issue. My father used to run a small livestock business that barely helped us to run our household expenses. It was difficult for my father to support our family due to his meager income.”
During her childhood, Bibi didn’t have a clear vision of her future, but one thing she was passionate about was raising animals like her father. But like most girls in Pakistan, getting married and having children was all she had to look forward to.
Bibi wanted the feeling of accomplishment that comes from being an entrepreneur. But as she said “It is unfortunate that Pakistan has a male-dominant society, here, it is very difficult for women to start their businesses or to pursue self-employment and to stand on their feet. I faced many hurdles when I started my livestock business. The financial capital available was limited, and at times, I thought of giving up.” But because of how Bibi grew up, she knew that her children would benefit from the possibility of both parents earning money for the household and was determined to make this dream of hers a reality.
After Bibi had gone from bank to bank and was turned down, a rep from FINCA approached her and discussed all the products FINCA Pakistan had available that were tailored for women entrepreneurs. Bibi was able to acquire an initial loan of 50,000 rupees, a few hundred dollars. But as of today’s date, Bibi has received her 8th loan and it is worth Rs 3 lakhs [nearly $2,000]. She now owns five buffaloes and many goats.
Because Bibi has established herself as a businesswoman and an earner in her household, she has dramatically changed the lives of her and her family. Now they live in a more spacious house, in a better neighborhood, with separate quarters for the animals. And with Bibi’s growing business and revenue, she was able to fund her son’s education up to undergraduate school.