Carolyn Bielfeldt

Carolyn Bielfeldt

The author is an Associate Director of Acumen, a nonprofit global venture fund changing the way the world tackles poverty by investing in companies, leaders and ideas. Based in New York, Carolyn was a former editor for Vanity Fair and has written for a number of US Publications. She tweets as (twitter.com/iamcarolynb)

A place to call home: An entrepreneur’s journey to bring community to Pakistan’s poor

When the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) first started to share the words of the Quran and spread Islam, he was forced to flee his home of Mecca due to persecution. He, along with the Emigrants who had left their homes behind for the sake of their faith, found refuge with the newly converted Muslims in Medinah. These Muslims — known as Ansar, or “The Helpers,” — embraced Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and the Emigrants as their own, providing them with food, shelter and security. It is this spirit of generosity and brotherhood that led Jawad Aslam to create Ansaar Management Company (AMC), an Acumen investee that provides affordable ...

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I was raised as a boy

Shamim Akhtar has a small but mighty presence. All of five feet, she holds herself with a self-possessed reserve, wearing a bold red, tie-dyed hijab with lipstick to match. She speaks fast but deliberately, commanding attention. She has always been confident. This confidence, she says, comes from being raised as a boy. The eldest of eight children, Shamim was born in 1983 in Molvi Abdullah Mari, a rural village in the Sindh province of Pakistan. Her family belongs to a Baloch caste, a conservative and patriarchal sector of society where men traditionally take precedence over women. “Life was not easy for me,” ...

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