The day begins at 6 a.m. for Muhammad Azeem. He and his three workers have 2000 chickens to tend to and 3,600 eggs to gather, clean and package for sale. â€śLife in the Poultry Business is extremely tough, yet it has been a very rewarding journey,â€ť says Muhammad, a resident of Surbandar District, Gawadar. His business is thriving, but this was not the case six years ago when Azeem took his first step towards prosperity; a step that led him through the difficult and complex terrains of life to liberate him from clutches of extreme poverty in search of a brighter future. Born to a very poor family, his parents did not have enough resources to support his education, leaving him with dire future livelihood prospects. However, Azeem, being a man of solid character never gave up hope and continued working bravely to triumph over life's setbacks. His aim was to secure his family's future and to prove himself as a role model for the people of his community who had lost all hopes of having a decent life.
In Surbandar, 26 kilometers from mainland Gawadar, most of the people were farmers and ran poultry business. Following this trend he started a job with a friend who was the owner of a small poultry shop on daily wages of Rs.150. Although he worked day and night, his income remained inadequate to meet the financial needs of his family. Still, he was optimistic in succeeding and never stopped envisaging ways to improve his financial situation. He kept on looking for ways and means to set-up a full scale poultry business through which he could improve his livelihood and uplift his family from abject poverty. Azeem knew that to setup poultry business he would require a large sum of money hence he started saving from the meager amount that he received from working at the poultry shop. But very soon realized that he can't save enough to start his own business. As the saying goes â€śGod help those who help themselvesâ€ť he found a way out when a friend told him about microfinance which led him to the doors of Khushhalibank in 2005. The loan facility allowed him to purchase a cage to stock his poultry in a good scale. He also bought a large air cooler to keep the chickens safe from extreme conditions of heat during summers. These important steps enabled him to negotiate for a better price with the buyers as his livestock was of a superior quality as compared to the other vendors in the area resulting in a profit of Rs. 10,000 in the first month. With no fear of failure in his mind he went ahead with greater zeal and determination to extend the business . Having been able to pay the first loan successfully he availed another loan from the bank which enabled him to invest further in the business resulting in even higher profits. Currently in his 5th loan cycle Azeem has 2000 broiler chickens from which he makes a profit of Rs 45,000 every month. He takes care of the chickens himself and his son helps him in the collection of chicks and the food, and in marketing the chickens. Besides, he employs three people to run his poultry shop. Muhammad Azeem also runs a dealership, from where other adjoining farms buy chicks. He now not only earns for himself, but also provides employment opportunities to others by employing them in his business.
Muhammad Azeem continues to weave more plans for his business and aspires to establish a temperature-controlled facility where he can keep the chickens safe from severe heat. He also plans to diversify his business in Surbandar by offering grocery items such as ghee, rice, pulses, sugar, vegetables in addition to selling chickens. He continues to brainstorm creative ideas and tap all new opportunities to empower the community members to partake in his growing business. This enterprising individual was recently acknowledged for his contributions to family and community by the 'Citi PPAF Awards 2010' whereby he was chosen to be the 'Regional Runner up best male entrepreneur' from Baluchistan Region and was awarded a cash prize for his untiring efforts.