730 million people in South Asia survive on less than $2.5 a day. Rural women are especially vulnerable, lacking access to finance, land rights and markets. Unemployment rates among young people are growing fast.  

Our approach: 

We focus on disadvantaged women and young people, developing their skills, investing in entrepreneurship and increasing access to markets.

Through our work:

  • over 140,000 urban youth, rural women and disabled people have been provided with training and entrepreneurship skills
  • over 27,000 young people have been trained in skills demanded by employers
  • more than 18,000 viable businesses have been started by women – and almost 16,000 have been supported to grow.
women sewing, Pakistan

“There is no happiness like the happiness of knowing that you can earn your own money and use it to build your future.”

Fehmida received support but today runs a small business supplying one of the largest clothing boutiques in Pakistan.

Women’s Economic Empowerment

In South Asia, women’s work is often undervalued. Only 28% of women have a job or are looking for one, compared to 79% of men. 

Two women laughing together, Pakistan

Urban Youth employment project

In 2016, we launched the Urban Youth Enterprises Incubator in Pakistan, co-developed with Citi Foundation. This business incubator supports the employment of young people from disadvantaged, low-income backgrounds to develop and grow thriving businesses.

Man in workshop, Pakistan

More about our livelihoods work

  • Corporate partnership programme

    Empowering adolescent girls through technology, with BT

    Girls on laptop, India
  • Watch

    Sustainable livelihoods: investing in Pakistan's future

    Lady sewing, Pakistan
  • Case study

    Noor's story

    two women showing another woman to cross-stitch
  • Case study

    Fehmida's story

    close up shot of cross stitching