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The greatest weapon against failure is the ability to continue struggling for the better, despite hardships, and steer towards a clear ambition with commitment, hard work, and perseverance. Hailing from a small village near Fort Abbas in Punjab, a lower-middle-class woman – Shamim – conquered several personal, monetary, and social barriers to become a financially independent, self-sufficient, and empowered member of society.

“I thank God for His countless blessings. I also owe it to my bank for helping me grow my small venture.”

Despite being surrounded by a family that loved her profusely, Shamim Bibi’s life has not been the most ideal and was dotted with its fair share of hurdles. She worked with her husband day-in and day-out to provide a comfortable life to her family and educate her children for leading them towards a progressive future. 

Being a doting mother and a loving wife, Shamim Bibi’s story is a true testament to the fact that obstacles faced in life often turn out to be the most significant stimuli that propel us towards our path of growth and prosperity. Utilizing her entrepreneurial prowess, she set up a dairy business and expanded it to fulfill the financial needs of her family, and on her voyage towards triumph, she found Mobilink Microfinance Bank Limited (MMBL), a support system that fostered her journey towards further economic independence faster. 

Shamim Bibi had only four goats in the beginning but her will and desire to expand her business were unbounded. While pursuing her dream to establish a more formal setup of a dairy farm, she was approached by a representative from Mobilink Microfinance Bank, the largest digital bank of Pakistan, committed towards serving the unserved. Shamim Bibi applied for a livestock loan in 2019 and utilized this money to purchase a cow. While her husband worked in a factory for labor, she showed immense strength of will, courage, and dedication to pouring her energy into the livestock business. After successfully paying back her first loan, a year later, she was able to avail another MMBL loan cycle, purchasing a second cow in the process. 

Owing to her profound business acumen, her entrepreneurial plunge proved worthwhile and her earnings increased substantially. She is now able to send her children to school and even though her dream of setting up an entire dairy farm remains yet to be fulfilled, today, her monthly revenue exceeds PKR 30,000. 

“MMBL’s livestock loan has completely transformed our lives. The bank was extremely supportive and helpful through its procedures. While many hesitate in availing a loan due to complicated procedures and policies as well as extensive paperwork, MMBL introduced me to a simple, easy, and efficient loaning experience. It has always been a dream to set up my dairy farm, and with MMBL, I feel this dream will gain fruition sooner than my expectations.”

Shamim Bibi’s amazing story serves as a testament to the fact that great initiatives lead to greater rewards. Despite all the hardships she faced, Shamim Bibi remained hopeful for a better future and this quality of optimism is what is needed by women across the country.

As a leading microfinance provider, MMBL has been a witness to numerous examples of women from rural areas, who carry remarkable qualities to seek economic empowerment but remain tied down due to little support and lack of access to financial resources. MMBL thoroughly believes that an individual with initiative can become an agent of change in their community when provided the correct stepping stones, and hence it is playing its role of bringing more and more women into the fold of financial inclusion.

The State Bank of Pakistan’s policy, ‘Banking on Equality: Reducing the Gender Gap in Financial Inclusion’ has set an objective to boost the number of active women-transaction bank accounts from the existing 14.5m to around 20m by 2023 and increase female participation in the workforce of financial institutions from 13% to 20% by 2024. With its flagship women empowerment initiative, Women Inspirational Network (WIN), MMBL aims at bridging the gender divide in banking services by significantly contributing towards the financial inclusion of women from remotest parts of the country and deploying a gender lens in all of its key systems and processes, for making the banking system more gender-intentional, rather than gender-neutral.

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