10 organizations founded by Pakistani women that make the world a better place

By Anam Abdulla | Blog

Oct 18
Here is a list of 10 organizations founded by Pakistani women that are making the world a better place, one day at a time. Giving us some serious feels.

1. LettuceBee Kids
LettuceBee Kids is a social enterprise focused on improving the lives of street children and reintegrating them into society with dignity. The underlying aim is to establish human ties that are defied by race, culture, religion or politics. LettuceBee Kids was founded by Sarah Adeel in Islamabad. You can read more about Sarah’s inspiring story here.

LettuceBee Kids empowering and integrating street children in joyful learning. Photo Credit: Sarah Adeel, LettuceBee Kids

2. Circle Women
CIRCLE, co-founded by Sadaffe Abid, develops the capacity of professional women and entrepreneurs to exercise leadership in new and innovative ways. The organization draws on the specific and unique leadership challenges that women face in order to facilitate the process of change and transformation.  To create systemic change, CIRCLE engages with a variety of stakeholders to pace the work. CIRCLE has been built upon two powerful and proven methodologies: adaptive leadership, developed at Harvard, and the psychodynamic-systemic approach to coaching out of INSEAD’s Global Leadership Centre. To become a part of this movement, please take CIRCLE’s pledge to elevate women’s voices and leadership opportunities here.
3. Reading Room Project
Reading Room Project (RRP), founded by Mashall Chaudhri aims to build outstanding learning environments for high-potential, low-income students. RRP harnesses the tremendous power of the Internet and a variety of web based resources to eliminate teacher dependency and traditional textbook limitations. RRP is also looking to expand their team and you can check out current opportunities here.
4. Kashf Foundation
Kashf Foundation, was the first specialized microfinance program in Pakistan established in 1999 by Roshaneh Zafar to target women from low income communities. It has now transformed into the first wealth management company for women from low income households. The organization focuses on enhancing the role that women can play in improving the economic status of their families by building their entrepreneurship skills through providing access to business loans, micro-insurance services and financial education training. You can find current career opportunities here.
GRID, The Gaming Revolution for International Development, founded by Mariam Adil, gamifies the practice of International Development by creating low-cost digital games that simulate the challenges in designing, implementing and monitoring development projects. GRID aims to revolutionize the practice of international development by introducing video games as development solutions. These solutions range from capacity building tools for development workers to awareness building tools for project beneficiaries.You can read about Mariam’s story here.

Using games to inspire behaviour change. Photo Credit: GRID’s website [Mariam Adil]

6. Invest2Innovate
Invest2Innovate (i2i), founded by Kalsoom Lakhani, supports startup communities in growth markets, and has been operating in Pakistan since 2011. i2i believes that the next great innovators can and should come out of countries like Pakistan, Iran, and Nigeria, but they need the resources and the proper ecosystem to thrive. Therefore, Invest2Innovate finds, selects & vets impact entrepreneurs from fragile and nascent markets for the i2i Accelerator, an annual four-month program that provides business support and access to mentors and investment.
7. Malala Fund
Inspired by Malala Yousafzai and founded by Shiza Shahid, Malala Fund’s goal is to enable girls to complete 12 years of safe, quality education so that they can achieve their potential and be positive change-makers in their families and communities. Malala Fund works with partners all over the world helping to empower girls and amplify their voices; it invests in local education leaders and programmes; and advocates for more resources for education and safe schools for every child. You can find current opportunities at the Fund here.

Malala Yousafzai with delegates at the Supporting Syria and the Region conference. Photo Credit: Creative Commons

8. EcoEnergy
In 2009, Shazia Khan, a Pakistani-American, created EcoEnergy (formerly EcoEnergy Finance), a non-profit  dedicated to distributing solar energy to Pakistanis to provide them with safer, healthier and more environmentally friendly alternatives to kerosene and wood that was leading to the massive deforestation of the country. It has since then evolved into a social enterprise and focuses on collecting micro data on energy challenges in Pakistan and providing affordable and sustainable solar energy solutions.
9. Women’s Digital League
WDL, founded by Maria Umar is a virtual firm providing digital services to clients, owned and powered by Pakistani women. It is working for economic development of the country by mobilizing a vast dormant workforce consisting of women which is either discouraged from working outside or has trouble finding work opportunities. It’s overall mission is to create education and career opportunities for Pakistani women.
And lastly, a lot of times, especially in Pakistan, we don’t give much attention to think-tanks or research focused institutions. However, I truly believe that research is the cornerstone of development and policy making, therefore check out the following organization also headed by a Pakistani women.
10. Social Policy and Development Centre
Established in 1995, the Social Policy and Development Centre (SPDC) is a non-profit research think tank, which has made a significant intellectual contribution in placing issues of pro-poor growth and social development on Pakistan’s policy-making agenda. With a focus on issues of development, poverty, inequality, governance, social sector policies, climate, gender issues, and pro-poor macro-economic policy, it contributes to the national goal of social development through research, policy advice, and advocacy. SPDC is headed by Dr. Khalida Ghaus. 

Focus group conducted by SPDC in Dadu, Sindh. Photo Credit: Anam Abdulla

Disclaimer – This list is not an all inclusive list of organizations, in no particular order, and solely based on the curator’s interests. If you’d like us to include other organizations, please get in touch at contactus@dairay.com 🙂