Akhuwat believes in charity backed by compassion, sense of responsibility toward the underprivileged, and a bond of brotherhood between the have’s and have-not’s. Because of this ideology, we started with giving out interest- and collateral-free loans.
Family Enterprise Loan
In 2001, a group of friends came up with the idea for Akhuwat at the Lahore Gymkhana. They were critical of microfinance programs that aimed to alleviate poverty but charged exorbitant interest rates. The idea of initiating a successful interest-free microfinance program was brought forth as a challenge, although at that point, no one knew exactly what this experiment would look like. One of the friends pledged a donation of 10,000 rupees, while another friend, Dr. Amjad Saqib, decided to put that donation to use as an interest-free loan.
Liberation Loans assist with repaying loans, often taken out from moneylenders, that carry exorbitantly high interest rates. With the culture of informal moneylenders, or baniyas, prevalent in Pakistan, many poor people find themselves in a cycle of ongoing debt as they struggle to pay high interest rates for years, leaving the principle amount untouched. Interest rates may be as high as 1,000% and can financially cripple the poor.
Many times, the loan persists from one generation to the next, making it impossible for the family to secure financial stability. To counter the effects of the high-interest loans, Akhuwat’s Liberation Loan pays the principal amount in one payment, and in turn, the client pays back that principle amount in interest-free installments to Akhuwat.
The upper limit of the loan is US $500. However, substantially larger loans may also be given, pending approval from a committee headed by the Executive Director.
The Education Loan caters to the poor who are unable to finance their own or their dependents’ education.
Emphasis on education has always been an integral part of Akhuwat’s social agenda, and through the Education Loan, Akhuwat intends to ensure that poor students are able to continue their education in spite of their lack of financial support. In most cases, borrowers use the loan to pay fees and dues, purchase books and material, and pay initial registration or examination fees. The upper limit of the Education Loan is US $250.
The Health Loan is for those who are unable to afford necessary health care.
Diseases like hepatitis, tuberculosis, and diabetes are quite common in underdeveloped areas. While these diseases are not fatal in themselves, they have contributed to the death of many poor people who are unable to afford necessary treatments. To combat this issue, we designed the Health Loan specifically to assist the poor with funds that could help save their lives.
Health Loans range from US $100 to US $200. The Health Loan complements the health services that Akhuwat Health Services provides to its borrowers, employees, and the underprivileged in general.
The Emergency Loan is intended to aid borrowers in the event that a crisis situation undermines the sustainability of their livelihoods. Akhuwat realizes that the economic life of the poor is impacted by a bevy of unforeseen events and emergencies, with families having little or no financial buffer to counter those shocks.
The Emergency Loan is designed to counter such emergencies so that the client’s long-term progress is not compromised. Loans in this category may be used for diffusing losses in business, healthcare expenses, machinery repairs, motor vehicle repairs, veterinary expenses and admissions fees, among other costs.
This loan ranges from US $50 to US $100 and may be repaid over one year. It is processed within 2-3 days and is the only Akhuwat USA loan that can be utilized in conjunction with another loan.
The Housing Loan is for necessary home renovations, including building new rooms, roofs, and walls. In evaluating applications for the Housing Loan, we take great care to ensure that the intended renovation is essential and necessary for the wellbeing of the borrower.
The range for this loan varies between US $300 to US $700 and must be repaid within two years
Over the years, many poor families have expressed the need for assistance in marrying their daughters, which led Akhuwat to introduce the Marriage Loan. Marriage expenses remain a huge responsibility for parents in Pakistani society, and many poor families struggle to arrange the necessary funds for marriage ceremonies and dowries.
We award Marriage Loans of up to US $200.
These loans are given to small farmers including landless farmers/tenants according to an eligibility criterion for purchasing agriculture inputs and meeting ancillary expenses.