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Pakistan Center for Philanthropy

Making Pakistan a Model for Human Development

September 27, 2002 - The Weekly Pakistan Link News Paper

By Pervaiz Lodhie, Torrance, CA

As a Pakistani American professional engineer, an entrepreneur and a technology businessman who only believes in ‘teaching how to catch fish’, my efforts in all these areas had not only begun 5 years ago in Pakistan but have proved very successful both for Pakistan and America. As one of the twenty-four Founding Directors and Trustees of President Musharraf’s Pakistan Human Development Fund, the implementation of Pakistan’s Human Development project initiated by Dr Nasim Ashraf and supported by President Musharraf last year has begun. I was present on the site on July 21, 2002 in Mardan, NWFP on the opening of the first Human Development Center. Pakistan’s revolutionary human development program is also based on the concept of ‘teach how to catch fish’. It’s a totally transparent private effort of Pakistani Americans, and well-known Pakistan philanthropists like Abdul Sattar Edhi.

In the area of poverty alleviation, I started transferring my US based company’s labor intensive assembly work by starting a ‘contract manufacturing’ company in the Export Processing Zone Karachi, five years ago. It was a success beyond expectations. We have about 110 employees who with very minimal training, no communication problems, and very short learning time are able to give me 110% quality, 150% productivity at 1/5-1/10th the cost of doing this assembly task in my Torrance plant.

This partnership with Pakistan not only helped save my company in USA but also enabled me to be profitable and globally competitive. The facility, Shaan Technologies (www.Shaantech.com), has 60% women. The biggest benefit of creating jobs in Pakistan is that many people are affected by one job. By creating 110 jobs, basic minimal needs of 1100 immediate family members are met. In addition, these 1100 people create a further economic ripple effect in their area and impact the lives of 11,000 people. This is how very little investment gives the highest return.

Lastly, working with one of Pakistan’s best-known NGO National Rural Support Program (www.nrsp.org.pk), I have started and sown the seeds of a revolutionary program for the poorest rural areas of Pakistan. This program includes three-Bulb Solar Powered LED Bulb kits for each hut. These will last forever, require no electricity, and give sustainable light. There will be 1 bulb for the cooking area, 1 for education and 1 for the family get-together area. I will be subsidizing some cost, part will be borne by world donors and the remaining by the user. Another project in testing stage is the solar powered submersible pump for sustainable drinking water and maybe small farm irrigation.. Thar in Sindh is the poorest area where 95% homes do not have light. Thardeep Rural Development Project (TRDP) aims to place 10,000 of the Solar Powered LED lamp kits in this district.

This is only a beginning to make Pakistan one of the most progressive countries in the world during this decade. The task can be accomplished by the individual and collective action of professional Pakistani Americans. They should attempt the task and accept it as an unwritten responsibility.



Export Promotion Bureau Pakistan
Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce & Industry
Edhi Foundation

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