Follow by Email

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Hungry no more



It is not news that inflation is at an all time high in Pakistan and slowly but surely basic necessities including food are getting out of reach of people living below the poverty line. A group of young people from Karachi put their heads together to come up with a way to make essential commodities accessible to needy people of their community. They agreed that one way price of commodities can be decreased is by minimizing the mark-up added to them by whole sellers and shop owners. They named their Social Action Project (SAP) Al Qaim Resource Center (AQRC).

Initially the group pooled in their own resources and started purchasing essential commodities like flour, rice, pulses, and oil in bulk and selling them to needy individuals. An added advantage for the group was that one of the members owns a rice mill. He was generous enough to give the group members sizable discounts on purchases from him and on occasions has also extended a line of credit to them.

The group launched their SAP in a poor area of the city. A stall was set up from which about 20 families were able to purchase commodities at prices lower than the market rate.
According to Adeel Kapasi, a very low mark-up is added to the price to cover expenses such as transport and labor. The mark-up also covers losses incurred by the group such as damaged cargo, cash management errors, etc.

The group was also lucky in finding a private donor who gave the group a one-time donation after hearing about their idea. This money enabled the group to expand their operations. To date 500 families from seven underprivileged areas of Karachi have benefited from this project.