Kaarvan Crafts

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Kaarvan Crafts

Islamabad, Pakistan
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
for profit
Project Stage:
$1,000 - $10,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

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

Aysha Saifuddin is creating production houses for Pakistani women and providing foothold access to national and international markets by creating a shareholder company: Kaarvan.

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

1000s of women entrepreneurs could gain the training, branding, and connections they need to sell their products to retail outlets?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

In Pakistan, 35% of women participate in the labor force. The majority live in rural areas and work in fields, tend livestock, or produce crafts as part of their domestic chores. With improvements in infrastructure and microfinance, women are increasingly turning to income earning professions. Currently, appropriate channels for women to access markets are lacking, and cultural norms serve to restrict women’s income earning potential.

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

In rural areas of Pakistan where women producers do not have access to markets, Aysha has established connections with partner citizen organizations (COs) to link them into the economy. Her organization Kaarvan is a forum used to help women establish production houses, produce quality goods, and sell their products to uptown markets and for export. The Kaarvan brand is used to unite the small business owners under a recognized symbol of style and quality. Kaarvan reaches out to women by providing training and advice to help them become appealing subcontractors for international brands.
Impact: How does it Work

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

Since its inception, Kaarvan has attracted international brands and exporters, particularly through the organized production by rural women in quality production houses. In 2003, Kaarvan started with 300 women and by 2006 had built up the producer base to 2,500, and expects to double this number by 2011.

Founding Story

Dissatisfied with her first experiences in the citizen sector, Aysha undertook graduate studies in management. During this time, she saw Ashoka Fellow Roshaneh Zafar give a guest lecture on the work of KASHF. She was so impressed by the organization that upon completion of her degree she assumed a position there, training people and building the capacities of borrowers. Aysha’s work with KASHF served as an apprentice period, giving her time to carve out her own niche in the field, and the ability to envision her future work.