Pakistani social entrepreneur and philanthropist Zain Ashraf has been honoured with the United Nations 'Champions for Change’ award for helping deserving people during the coronavirus pandemic.
Zain participated in the global competition held between the participants of 39 countries and bagged the prestigious award on the occasion of Pakistan’s 75th Independence Day.
He is the founder of ‘Seed Out’, a non-profit crowdfunding group, which works to end poverty by establishing micro-entrepreneurs through interest-free micro-financing.
His organisation provided around 1,400 families with interest-free loans to help them establish their own start-ups and helped over 4,000 school dropouts to resume their education.
In 2018, he won Commonwealth Youth Award, which recognises outstanding young people whose innovative projects and programmes have had a significant impact on their communities.
Zain is a member of the Prime Minister's National Youth Council and was also named in Forbes Social Entrepreneur under 30 list.
Since 2014, the organisation has raised 350 entrepreneurs, selecting and pairing micro-entrepreneurs with a business based on need, suggest official statistics.
It works on a simple yet meaningful principle: Pakistanis in need – predominately those who live below the poverty line – are provided with the means to earn a living.
Speaking about his initiative, Zain, 28, told earlier The Express Tribune that he conceived the idea in 2013 with the aim of eradicating poverty from Pakistan.
"We all have seen poverty-stricken people coming to our doorsteps and begging for money, and though many of us help them, it is not a long-term solution," he said. "That's when I came up with the idea to do something for poor people that would provide a more sustainable way of earning for them instead of pushing them into the vicious circle of beggary."
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