Lahore is known as the cultural hub of Pakistan – founded around 2000 years ago, its rich heritage is felt by visitors and residents alike. It is the second largest city in the country and the provincial capital of Punjab. Lahore offers a unique blend of historical and modern metropolitan areas. It has a dynamic vibe and is famous for its food, shopping malls, arts and music, Sufi shrines, and Mughal architecture. It is home to renowned educational institutions and is the center of governmental, non-governmental, media as well as corporate organizations. Students will not only have an enriching cultural experience in Lahore, but also learn about the socio-economic issues of developing countries and the steps that can be taken to resolve them.
Host Institution: Akhuwat is a Pakistani non-profit microfinance organization founded in accordance with Islamic principles of solidarity. Over the last eighteen years, Akhuwat has made an active effort to alleviate poverty in Pakistan through the provision of small interest-free (Qarz-a-Hasan) loans. These loans are given to the vulnerable poor - individuals that are particularly susceptible to falling below the poverty line, in order to facilitate their journey towards becoming self-sufficient. To this date Akhuwat has provided interest-free loans to 3.6 million families across Pakistan, making it the largest interest-free Microfinance organization in the World. The vision of the organization is to create a poverty-free society where individuals can live a life full of dignity.
To cater to the multi-dimensional issues of poverty, Akhuwat has diversified its impact domains to Healthcare, Education and Social Welfare for the marginalized (transgender, women, disabled, mentally-challenged) communities. Students will have the opportunity to utilize the expansive network of Akhuwat to not only get a hands-on understanding of the socio-economic issues in Pakistan but also conduct individual/group researches on topics pertaining (but not limited) to the realm of Development Economics, Sociology, Religion and South Asian Studies.
Mentor: Usama Mahmud is a Penn alum - he graduated from University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) with a B.S.E. in Bioengineering (Class of 2010) and a Masters in Public Administration (Class of 2012). While at Penn, Usama served as the President of Penn Pakistan Society as well as the Vice Chair for International Affairs of GAPSA. He is a development sector professional with cross-cutting experience of working in both public and private domains. His areas of expertise include public sector reform, with a focus on education. He has worked closely with the Government of Pakistan as well as international organizations such as DFID, UN, and the World Bank. Usama has spearheaded large scale initiatives and reform programs, and is currently working with the Punjab Government in leading the education reforms in the province.
Program Dates: The program will tentatively run from June 1-July 31
Program Length: 8 Weeks
Housing: Accommodation along with meals and local travel will be covered by Akhuwat. The Akhuwat Hostel is located within the premises of their main office in Gulberg - a central area of Lahore known for its safety and proximity to restaurants, grocery stores, movie theaters and much more.