Realizing Potential: Ulfat’s story

December 21, 2010
by

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Ulfat was just starting to feel the ground beneath her feet when, last July, life dealt Ulfat another hard blow. Born in the Nowshera district in the Kyber-Phaktunwa province, Ulfat was married off at 22, and divorced a year later because she did not produce a child within the first year of marriage. Upon her return to her father’s house, Ulfat was determined not to let her circumstances get the better off her. She started helping her father by taking care of the family buffalo and selling the milk. To generate some additional income, Ulfat also started a small tailoring business from home.

Ulfat was just starting to feel the ground beneath her feet when, last July, life dealt Ulfat another hard blow. Born in the Nowshera district in the Kyber-Phaktunwa province, Ulfat was married off at 22, and divorced a year later because she did not produce a child within the first year of marriage. Upon her return to her father’s house, Ulfat was determined not to let her circumstances get the better off her. She started helping her father by taking care of the family buffalo and selling the milk. To generate some additional income, Ulfat also started a small tailoring business from home.

Like most women living in South Asian rural communities, Ulfat has been a dependant all her life. First, her father supported her and upon being married, she relied on the support of her in-laws. When Ulfat’s husband divorced her, she was back to living under her father’s roof. Ulfat longed to be independent and do more for her family by starting a dairy business. This seemed like a daunting task, considering she did not have the money to buy a buffalo. Then she heard about BRAC from people in her village and decided to become a BRAC Microfinance client. In March 2010, the BRAC Microfinance branch in Akerberpura, gave Ulfat a loan of 12,000 Rs (USD 140 approximately). Coupled with her small savings from her tailoring business and the loan from BRAC, Ulfat was able to buy a buffalo.

Ulfat had just started selling the milk from the buffalo and generating a small income, when the devastating floods in Pakistan robbed Ulfat of all her dreams. Not only did Ulfat and her family lose their home and all their possessions, they also lost their way of sustenance. The gushing waters from the merciless flood, forced Ulfat and her family to leave their home and evacuate to dry land. They became homeless and started living on the side of a road. They were unable to eat and went hungry most days. During this period, Ulfat and her family received assistance through BRAC’s relief program. BRACs Relief Assistance Program provided them with a thousand rupees, food packets, medicine, water purification tablets, mosquito nets, bedding, and access to toilets.

Eventually, Ulfat and her family returned to their hometown to discover that the flood had washed away everything they owned, and all trace of their home had disappeared. They turned once more to BRAC for assistance. BRAC gave Ulfat a second chance by providing her with another loan to restart her dairy business. Ulfat bought another buffalo in November and has started selling milk again. The buffalo is currently producing 10 liters of milk a day, which Ulfat is able to sell at 50 Rs. per liter. The buffalo recently gave birth to a calf so eventually Ulfat anticipates increasing her income. Ulfat is hopeful for the future and thankful to BRAC in assisting her and her family at some of the most critical times in her life.

BRAC’s mission is to “empower people and communities in situations of poverty, illiteracy, disease and social injustice. Our interventions aim to achieve large scale, positive changes through economic and social programs that enable men and women to realize their potential.” Ulfat is a quintessential example of the unyielding human spirit, which continues to strive for a better future in the darkest of hours. With assistance from BRAC programs, Ulfat and millions like her start their journey of realizing their own potential.

Click here to learn more about BRAC programs in Pakistan.

guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments