Mumtaz Arif

Kaarvan Alumnus
KCF Training institute


We met Mumtaz for the first time in the winter of ’16 while she was undergoing her skills training at Kaarvan’s Training Institute in Bahawalpur. She stood out. She was a single mother of three children living on the upper floor of her brother’s small house, who did not financially support her. She was stitching clothes of her neighborhood on need-basis those days, earning barely enough to make her children eat and attend school. But her struggle, unkempt uniform and feeble exterior were not what made her unique. The resolve in her eyes did. She told us assertively that she wanted to open her own boutique. Anyone who saw her that day would have thought it was a far-off, if not an impossible, dream.

After nine months, Mumtaz’s batch was called for an Impact Evaluation Analysis. She looked better: well-fed and welldressed. She told us eagerly that she had reinvested her stipend from the training (something a few do) to buy material to make embroidered clothes, using skills she had learned from the fashion design course. She was then making dresses, selling them to relatives/neighbors by displaying them in a small room in her house. When asked how much she earned, she did not truly know.

‘I reinvest all that I earn,’ she added with a glow in her eyes, ‘the next time we meet, I might as well have my boutique!’

Mumtaz has now dedicated a small room in her house to display her clothes, a room she calls ‘Mumtaz’s Boutique’. We are awestruck. She employs around 20 workers and still does not know how much she actually earns because she keeps reinvesting it to make her business grow. She does, however, say it is enough to feed her children, school them and buy them decent clothes. Her aim is to earn enough to get herself a better space for her boutique and possibly rent a small apartment for herself and her children.