‘If I Can, She Can’ to support vital work rebuilding livelihoods in South Asia

The British Asian Trust launched a new public appeal ‘If I Can, She Can’ to support people in the poorest parts of South Asia to rebuild their lives in a post-COVID world.

COVID-19 has devastated all aspects of life across South Asia, particularly for women and girls; children are at greater risk of exploitation, the mental health crisis has deepened, education is on hold and livelihoods have been wiped out overnight. The economic impact of COVID-19 has especially affected women in the poorest parts of South Asia, with the female poverty rate expected to rise by almost a third to 28 million women this year, as a result of the pandemic.  Without any savings and no form of income, they and their children face a daily threat of hunger - as they cannot afford food; and the danger of exploitation by those seeking to take advantage of their need to earn a living.  

The British Asian Trust’s ‘If I Can, She Can’ Appeal enables people in the poorest parts of South Asia to be free from poverty, with a focus on its innovative Livelihoods programme that equips women with the new skills, knowledge and confidence needed to earn a decent living in a post-COVID South Asia. The success of this programme lies in collaborative working with trusted and expert local partners on the ground and combining approaches that are traditionally used in isolation, including; skills-building, improving financial literacy, increasing access to funding, linking candidates to employers and linking businesses to suppliers.  

Thanks to the UK Aid Match programme run by the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, public donations made before 31 May to the charity's 'If I Can She Can' Appeal will be doubled by the UK government to support the British Asian Trust’s vital work in education, livelihoods, anti-trafficking and mental health across South Asia. 

Noreen WEE Pakistan, Saiyna Bashir (11)

Match funding from the UK government will be used to fund the British Asian Trust’s innovative Women’s Economic Empowerment programme in Pakistan, which will equip women with the skills, knowledge and hope needed to find a job or start their own micro-enterprise. Over the last three years, the British Asian Trust’s Livelihoods programme in Pakistan has increased the earnings of over 10,000 women by an average of 37%.  

The British Asian Trust is planning a series of fundraising activities and initiatives to help raise funds for the ‘If I Can, She Can’ Appeal, which started with the Big Curry Night In last month. Launched by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, Royal Founding Patron of the British Asian Trust, the campaign saw huge support from celebrities and ambassadors such as Katy Perry, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Konnie Huq, Nina Wadia, Naughty Boy, Jos Buttler, Pete Tong, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and many more.

In a special recorded video message, HRH The Prince of Wales said:

As the Royal Founding Patron of the British Asian Trust, I am delighted to offer my support to their ‘If I Can She Can’ Appeal, which will help women from some of the poorest parts of South Asia to earn a decent living and support their families during one of the most challenging times in modern history. Whilst COVID-19 has caused a global health crisis across South Asia, it has also triggered an economic crisis that has plunged millions of people into poverty, with women disproportionately impacted.”

Richard Hawkes, Chief Executive, British Asian Trust says:

“This is our second UK Aid Match appeal and it presents a fantastic opportunity to raise funds for our work with some of the poorest women and families in South Asia. We are delighted to be part of the UK Aid Match programme where public donations will be doubled by the UK government. This incredible support means that we will be urging the public to donate towards our ‘If I Can, She Can’ Appeal to help these communities, as they try and recover from the severe impacts that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on them.”

Looking ahead, the British Asian Trust will be engaging the British public during a number of fundraising initiatives including activities around Ramadan, due to start on 12 April this year. This summer, the charity will also be organising a special cycle challenge where supporters will be cycling over 200 miles starting from Her Majesty The Queen’s Sandringham retreat in Norfolk to HRH The Prince of Wales’s home at Highgrove, Gloucestershire via Buckingham Palace. The ‘If I Can, She Can’ Appeal will also be supported by a number of British Asian Trust Ambassadors.

Donations to the British Asian Trust will help deliver its vital programmes to support people in the poorest parts of South Asia, particularly women and girls, whose lives have been devastated by the pandemic. Donations made before 31st May will be doubled by the UK government.