The British Asian Trust is investing £2m (Rs 46 crores) of match funding from the UK government – received in support of the Trust’s “If I Can, She Can” Appeal – into its Women’s Economic Empowerment programme to help Pakistani women whose livelihoods have been impacted by Covid-19.

The Women’s Economic Empowerment programme equips Pakistani women with the skills, knowledge and confidence needed to find a job or start their own business in a post-Covid world.

So far, it has helped more than 9,800 women increase their income, placed more than 3,400 women in paid internships and employment opportunities, and supported over 7,000 women in starting their own

Kamyla Marvi, Pakistan Director of the British Asian Trust, said, “With financial support from the UK government’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), the programme has helped over 10,000 women from 2017 to 2020 to obtain secure jobs or establish their own businesses.”

The British Asian Trust was founded in 2007, by HRH The Prince of Wales and British Asian business leaders, to tackle widespread poverty, inequality and injustice in Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

Richard Hawkes, Chief Executive of the British Asian Trust said, “We are absolutely delighted to have raised the incredible total amount of £4.69m (Rs 108 crores) – including the £2m matched by the UK government – thanks to the incredible generosity of our supporters and the government.

“It is more important than ever that we all come together to help marginalised people and communities – especially those whose lives have been devastated due the pandemic.”

He added, “This is a great example of the government, the public and a charity working together on something incredibly successful that will change the lives of hundreds of thousands of women.”

Other initiatives by the British Asian Trust to drive post-Covid recovery efforts include the “Palaces on Wheels” charity cycle ride, which saw HRH The Prince of Wales ride a bicycle at Highgrove to see-off Pakistani-origin and British Asian cyclists on a gruelling 400 km challenge.

The campaign was supported by British Asian Trust ambassadors, including international pop star Katy Perry, British actor Sanjeev Bhaskar, TV presenter Konnie Huq, chart-topping British musician Naughty Boy, England cricketer Jos Buttler and Pakistani music maestro Rahat Fateh Ali Khan.