Pakistani Female Entrepreneurs share their stories- How did they do it

A roller-coaster of a ride; “She inspires” was dedicated to celebrating inspiring women. We heard women talk not only about what they did but also about the sort of obstacles they had to face on their way to the top. The Panel of successful/renowned women was the main event and featured a number of inspiring stories. We have picked some powerful messages.

•Zar Aslam, The CEO/Founder of the Pink Rickshaw initiative and The Environment Production Foundation (TEPF). A video was played in which an employee of the Pink Rickshaw initiative explained how happy she was to be part of the project. Zara Aslam told us how everyone had told her that the campaign would fail before she started it but she still persevered, and taking one small step at a time was how it worked. Her message was simple; “We as women need to support each other, we cannot afford to hide, we need to be out there so that other women can be encouraged.”

•Kiran Khan, Olympic Swimmer. Kiran is the youngest ever female swimmer to win a gold medal from Pakistan. She found out that she was destined to become a swimmer at the age of 7 when she raced against her brother and won. She went through three years of training starting when she was 7 and then debuted in 2001 at the age of 10. Kiran also talked about how she never looked back because she thought she didn’t have the time to look back for a second. She says “I didn’t choose swimming, swimming chose me!” And that: “wherever you start, whether a doctor, engineer, or a swimmer, work as a single army!”

•Amal Khan, Features Editor (The Nation). Amal kept her speech simple but captivating. Amal Khans had plenty of opportunities to go abroad, but she decided to stick to her home country and make a change here. Her message is: You should have the confidence when to say no. Ladies, get out talk your heart out, your stories are to be written about. Don’t spend your time trying to fit in.”

•Maria Umar: Founder/President of Woman’s digital league. Project Manager, Women x Maria works with a company that helps take existing business entrepreneurs to the next level. Her story filled the room with laughter. Her advice to the women was: “Please don’t act helpless”. The second thing she stressed on was that: “Fear stops you, society doesn’t” and this was perfectly true because you stop doing things just by the thought of what people would say or do.


•Seemi Raheal, Actor. Seemi Raheal’s honest message was: “I’m astounded by the power and the nature of women, they are the most incredible being’s” She also feels that we cannot stop doing what we want to just because of someone else’s accusations. She thanked She for creating this amazing platform and she ended with a small and simple but meaningful message: “we all need to learn how to live a little.”

•RJ Sophie, (Sophiya Anjum) F.M 91: RJ Sophie’s story was full of life. Sophiya has been hosting shows on things that matter. She studied mass communication from Kinnaird College. She ended with two messages: “Please don’t be judgmental” and “You are in charge of your own destiny”. Her speech was very inspiring as it convinced us that everything can go right if we tread with patience and compassion.


•Zainab Saeed, Senior Manager and strategic communication head at Kashf foundation: Zainab had a lot to talk about. While listening to her speech I thought to myself that humanity still did exist. She was a perfect example of a human who was bringing the right amount of change to society. From helping needy people get their ATM cards because they couldn’t get them by themselves, to being a part of the only microfinance institution across South Asia that introduced health insurance to the unemployed. She talked about the three major challenges that women face in their work life – mobility, marriage problems, child birth. Zainab explained that Kashf Foundation provided scooties to the employees who worked or they did carpools. And when it came to marriage problems they showed mothers in law the work place , and lastly she stated that the first thing that comes to our minds when we have a baby is to quit our jobs. We forget that so many companies provide daycare facilities, and we just jump to the easy solution of ending our careers just in the blink of an eye. She ended with a simple note: “believe in the good things, believe in yourself.”

•Tehmina Shaid, CEAP( Child Empowerment Association Pakistan). This operation started in December 2015, with the aim to eradicate child sexual abuse. The organization focuses on three main categories: adult awareness, youth awareness and child empowerment. Tehmina stated “Education and awareness can prevent child sexual abuse from happening” *tokens of appreciation are then given to these three talented women, these tokens are sponsored by Agha Noor, Anhaar, and Diplex.*
There is a lunch break after and a group picture session after this.

•Tanzilla Khan, Motivational speaker, CEO Creative Alley, Optimism Expert. Tanzilla Khan is the perfect example of a role model. With her third book on the way, she is a talented and accomplished lady. She was born with a deformity in both her legs and was forced to depend on her hands only.Those hands wrote and her first book was published when she was just 16.

Stories of Emerging Women Leaders:

•Saniya Hasan, CEO Sweet Affairs. “I am very happy that I got the opportunity to become a business woman”, says Saniya Hasan. At just 26 years, she has a bakery café – which all of us have heard about and tried – called Sweet Affairs. She says that she “runs it with an ambition to prove that women can be self-sufficient on their own.”

•Zahida Kazmi, Taxi Driver. She is just like any other woman who is striving to make a living. During the day she drives a taxi and at night she makes rolls, kababs and kofta. She is the perfect example of a hard working woman. Zahida is from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, but she tried to break the regional stereotype. This woman’s level of determination is what we need most women to have these days.

•Saba Gul Hasan, Nutritionist. Saba says: “Tell yourself how beautiful you are, regardless of what others tell you!”

•Abeer Naseem, Clinical Psychologist. According to Abeer, “It does not matter what somebody says about you, if you are comfortable in your own skin!” Abeer hit us with the right reality of what the world is doing to us, being dissatisfied all the time. In the end she told us all to “Relax.”

•Mehak Naeem, Peechan NGO. This woman’s career is one help to the population. We need more humans like her to invest their time, and get out of the bubble of their lives so that they could give to the poor and needy as well.

•Summan Siddiqui,Intelligence services. Summan’s message was simple: “Depression does not end when you talk to someone, it ends when you talk to yourself!”

•Mussarat Misbah with her Diplex Foundation Acid Burn Survivors: Mussarat Misbah’s Smile Again Foundation has brought smiles to so many faces across the country. After helping so many lives, Mussarat stillfeels guilty that she took so long to start this organization. She brought three acid burn victims along with her who shared their emotional stories.


•Zoya Ishaq, Founder of She Inspires :”I did this because i dreamt about it, i have an amzing team that helped me put things together. I want to promote dialogue and create more events so great stories can be celebrated. What our society needs is just that element of positivity. I feel people need to be heard so their energies can be redirected. Our model is simple. We reached out to sponsors and they let us do things , because they felt they wanted to be part of more meaningful conversations. I beleive thats how things happen. Things always happen and we must keep beleiving in that.”

More platforms like She should be created so that we can learn from the women around us. This event was the perfect mix of inspirational, emotional and eventful. The event’s final performance was by Pehlaaj – a young group of theater students who performed magnificently.

Information source :
Hajra Sheikh, student at Lahore school of Economics is passionate about observing what people have to say at events.

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