OUR IMPACT: WOMEN
EcoEnergy inspires entrepreneurism, particularly in women who are empowered to create economic opportunities afforded by access to this clean energy. Women who run embroidery businesses from their homes are now able to work in the evenings thanks to solar electricity, while others start their own businesses selling EcoEnergy’s solar lanterns. Fatima is just one of these women in Pakistan benefitting from these new opportunities.
Although Fatima never went to school, the 38 year-old is a true entrepreneur. A couple of years after her husband abandoned her and her family, she was in dire straits. She picked herself up and resolved to support her family despite the circumstances. In 2013, Fatima used a loan to purchase enough solar lanterns from EcoEnergy to start a small business – which has since sold more than 150 units to her local community. Fatima quickly became an incredibly savvy and successful businesswoman, reaching other women in the community with EcoEnergy’s lights. She uses her income to support her two children as well as her aging parents, and is planning on purchasing a lot in her village to build a home. See more of Fatima’s story here:
Fatima communicated to EcoEnergy staff that one of the major issues that female entrepreneurs face while traveling alone from village to village in rural Pakistan is conveyance. She suggested that a qinqi would make her work much easier. The qinqi can be driven by her father, who acts as both her driver and male escort, keeping her safe when she is traveling to far-off villages in Sindh. EcoEnergy enthusiastically supported this idea, and decided to raise funds (about $1500 per qinqi) to provide their women entrepreneurs with this facility while continuing to be sensitive to social and cultural values.
Women like Fatima are a true symbol of the untapped potential in Pakistan. EcoEnergy is striving to hire more women, empowering them to be ambassadors of change in their communities. Along with Fatima, Ghulam Fizza also works as as one of our Community Mobilizers. She completed her BSc from the University of Sindh in 2009 and has been working in the development sector in Pakistan ever since. She is also an engineering graduate of the National University of Science & Technology for the Class of 2013. Aqsa Sikander is another member of the EcoEnergy team and operates as our Customer Relations & Technical Officer. EcoEnergy prides itself in the talented women that work between and within both urban and rural Pakistan and hope to hire more women in the future.