One of the less lucky was Zafar Iqbal Bhatti, a retired public servant who used to work as a technician at a government facility. After retirement, he bought an auto-rickshaw to earn a living for his family. However, their income was meek due to the ever rising costs of living, and fewer work opportunities for senior citizens.
After driving the rickshaw and trying to overcome his financial troubles for a couple of years, Zafar came across an opportunity provided by a local organization called the Sukhi Development Foundation (SDF). The SDF had partnered with the USAID Small Grants and Ambassador’s Fund Program and were aiming to provide training to 100 individuals to install, maintain, and repair solar energy systems. The training also included a business enterprise course to help develop the trainees’ entrepreneurial skills. Zafar signed up.
“Completing the course gave me confidence to work in this field,” Zafar said. “I opened up my own shop and the business flourished. I can now easily manage the expenses of my three school-going children. I am also trying to win enough projects to enable me to buy a piece of land and build a small house for my family. That is my lifelong dream.”
The growing solar systems in the area required frequent installation and maintenance services that the existing technicians were unable to meet. This was a clear opportunity for Zafar, who had a technical background, to set up his own business.
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