A Stitch in Time...

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A Stitch in Time...: Healthy Living & Financial Inclusion for Textile Workers

Karachi, PakistanKarachi, Pakistan
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
Project Stage:
$500,000 - $1 million
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

NAYA JEEVAN seeks to rejuvenate the lives of vulnerable populations in emerging markets (such as textile workers) by providing them with access to affordable, quality healthcare, health/life/disability insurance and financial capability. NAYA JEEVAN focuses its health plan on corporate value chains.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if textile workers could access the same high-quality healthcare that corporate executives take for granted?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

In Pakistan, over 1 million textile workers are unable to access quality healthcare due to a grossly, under-resourced and dysfunctional public health system that over 120 million low-income citizens rely on. These textile workers are employed informally, lack legal identities and legal rights, are at especially high risk for respiratory, skin and other work-related health problems and remain financially excluded and unbanked.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

NAYA JEEVAN offers corporate value chain workers (including textile workers) a unique 'health plan for the marginalized'. The plan consists of a health/life/disability insurance and gives beneficiaries cashless access to: (i) a nationwide network of quality private healthcare providers (ii) annual medical check-ups, which promote the early detection of disease, (iii) A 24/7 HealthLine managed by doctors available to beneficiaries to handle medical emergencies (iv) Promotive Health workshops that encourage positive lifestyle and behavioural modifications, (v) a Pharmacy prescription discount 'smart card' that is optionally connected to a mobile banking account and NADRA's National ID system (which gives workers a legal identity).


2014 VISA Innovation Challenge; 2013 Rockefeller Foundation Centennial Innovation Challenge; 2012 G20 Financial Inclusion Challenge Award;
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

NAYA JEEVAN’s plan for underserved communities has been cascaded by Unilever to over 100 distributors who are connected to Unilever's retail value chain. Unilever has co-financed the annual health insurance program costs ($30/life/year) of these distributors and their sales reps as part of a tiered loyalty/incentive program. This model can be replicated globally with a varying degree of corporate co-financing/subsidy and gives beneficiaries cashless access to a nationwide network of private, healthcare providers, preventive health services (workshops and health education), discounted prescription drugs and 24/7 access to doctors via mobile phone.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

NAYA JEEVAN has successfully enrolled over 65000 low-income members from over 100 corporations and SME organizations over the past 5 years. We have conducted over 500 life-saving interventions (e.g. emergency revascularization following a heart attack) during this time. Our 20-20 Vision is to impact over 7.5 Million lives with our health plan, via a Private-Public Partnership, in collaboration with the government and private sector. We have already initiated discussions with the federal and two provincial governments in this regard and recently concluded an MOU with NADRA to integrate our pharmacy discount card into 1.5 million national ID smart cards in Pakistan.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

Ultimately, with our evolving strategic partnership with NADRA (national ID card (NIC) issuing authority), we have the potential to access and impact 150 million lives (including 2 million textile workers who are enrolled in the NIC system. These NIC card holders would have access to our health insurance plan (initially delivered by the private sector but with public sector facilities eventually being upgraded to compete with private sector for government reimbursements). We have already started to replicate our model in Latin America and this will be extended to Mexico, Colombia, Brazil,

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

For every incoming dollar we receive from retailers/brands on behalf of their supply chains, 65 cents underwrites the cost of the health/life/disability insurance, 20-25 cents covers the program service delivery cost and operating overheads, yielding a net profit margin of 10%-15%. We will break-even at 150, 000 enrolled lives which are conservatively projected for Q3'2017.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

We collaborate with brands and retailers to cascade our health plan to their supply chains. Our potential competitors include large insurance companies, but we have pre-empted this competition by positioning ourselves as their customer, purchasing group insurance policies for our clients from these companies and then embellishing these plans with our own direct service delivery (e.g. 24/7 HealthLine).

Founding Story

Asher is an ASHOKA fellow who believes in the universal right to healthcare, financial inclusion and social protection. Raised in the UK, Asher was troubled to see the disparity in standards of living and access to quality health care in South Asia on his frequent trips to the region. The appalling living conditions of the base-of-pyramid (BOP) population coupled with their poor sanitation led to rampant infectious disease and high maternal/infant mortality - further exacerbated by labour bondage, abuse and financial exclusion. Asher resolved to find a sustainable, profitable way to provide the BoP with dignified employment, living wages and employee benefits such as healthcare.


Dr. Asher Hasan, Founder and CEO; is a US trained medical doctor, a 2011 US Ashoka fellow and the 2011 World Economic Forum/Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneur of the Year; he has spent over 10 years living in emerging markets. Makkiya Jawed is a psychologist and the head of Corporate Development Irfan Zaidi has over 10 years of corporate sales experience and is the head of Business Development Saba Khattak is a nurse and the head of Healthcare Provider Network Expansion
Value Chain: Where does your work fit into the apparel value chain? [check all that apply]


Your Role: What is your relationship to the apparel industry? [check all that apply]

Auditor, Consumer, Supplier - contractor, Other [please specify].

Target Population: What stakeholder groups do you engage or empower in your work? [check all that apply]

Auditors, Brands, Children, Consumers, Corporations, Factory Workers, Factory Owners, Policymakers, Researchers, Retailers - Department Store, Retailers - Specialty Store, Retailers - Mass-merchandise Chain, Sourcing Manager / Supply Chain Manager, Supplier - contractor, Supplier - subcontractor, Women, Youth.

● Intervention Focus: What are you trying to achieve / influence? [check all that apply]

Access to Essential Services (i.e. Healthcare and Education), Access to Finance, Access to Social Protection Services (i.e. Insurance, Pension, etc.), Labor Rights (i.e. Collective Bargaining, etc.), Gender Equality, Anti-forced Labor or Anti-Human Trafficking, Physical Working Conditions.

Lever for Change: Select up to 3 ways your work is helping to transform the industry.

Capacity Building, Training, Technology.

Is your project targeted at solving any of the following key barriers?

Hidden from View: Conditions in Forests, Farms, and Factories are Only Visible to a Select Few, A Job is Not Enough: Low-Income Workers Cannot Secure Long-Term Well-Being, Consumers Aren't Motivated to Care: Neither Compelling Reasons Nor Easy Means to Change Consumption Habits, Sustainability is Not Yet in the DNA: Fast Fashion’s Current Model Disincentivizes Value-Driven Economies.

Does your project utilize any of the innovative design principles below?

Unite More than Voice: Tap into Community Capital and Collective Resources, Activate Local Know-how for Driving Solutions: Build Opportunities for Workers to Become Leaders, Disrupt Business as Usual: Target Key Players Who Can Influence the Bottom Line.

Innovation Inspiration: When you first conceived of your project, did you think of it as applicable to the apparel industry?


If you answered "no" to the previous question, which industry was your project originally aimed at transforming?

● Replicating in the Apparel Industry: If your project didn't initially target the apparel industry, how are you specifically tailoring it to do so now?
Are you nurturing or inspiring others to be changemakers? If so, how?

We regularly share our learnings with other entrepreneurs and innovators at business plan competitions, workshops, conferences a

● Tell us about the partnerships that enhance your approach. How have you collaborated with others in the industry to increase your impact?

We have partnered with Unilever to provide our health plan to their distributors and microretailers