Ashoka elected its first cohort of Fellows in Pakistan in 1997 from its office in Karachi. Ashoka Fellows in Pakistan have created wide scale impact for equal rights and opportunities through the fields of education, health, environment, human rights, civic engagement and finance.
Today some of the most respected leaders in the Pakistani social sector are Ashoka Fellows – such as Roshaneh Zafar, founder of Kashf, the largest and most financially stable microfinance institution that works exclusively with women, Shoaib Sultan Khan, the pioneer of rural development programs in Pakistan and Asher Hasan, who is leveraging corporate, academic and large citizen organizations (COs) to finance low-cost, private health insurance for the working poor in Pakistan.
Since its inception, Ashoka has supported 47 Fellows in Pakistan. Collectively, these Fellows are affecting change across the country:
- Shaista Bukhari’s Women’s Right Association joins the efforts of Ashoka Fellows who are supporting over 500,000 women across all four Provinces of Pakistan. WRA’s efforts against gender-based violence and to promote social, political, and economic empowerment directly benefit 1,150 women and engage 2,000 youth volunteers through sessions on social entrepreneurship
- Dr. Quratulain Bakhteari’s efforts at the Institute for Development Studies and Practices have helped graduate 6,000 agents of change and are projected to impact 12 million people over 14 years
- Youth Engagement Services, founded by Ali Raza Khan, has built a national youth service movement and over the last 3 years alone, 270,000 Youth from across Pakistan have been engaged in community service projects while 1400 Principals and 6000 teachers have been trained and engaged on the concept of Youth Social Entrepreneurship.
With an estimated population of over 187 million, 63 percent of which is under the age of 25 and 49 percent of which is women, Pakistan is at a stage where strategic investments in its youth and women can shape a positive future for the country. Social innovation has a crucial role to play in realizing Pakistan’s needs – advancing youth leadership and women’s empowerment. By investing in young changemakers and women, Ashoka aims to build an "Everyone a Changemaker" society and shape a positive future for Pakistan.
Contacts in Pakistan: