A research project conducted to explore employment opportunities amongst the male youth in the low-income neighborhoods of Karachi, Pakistan. The objective was to inspire and empower the youth to help them achieve financial stability, in order to improve their way of life and strengthen the economics of their region.
This summer I spent a few weeks in my home town Karachi in Pakistan. Which is the 7th largest city in the world with a population of 27.5 Million. In this growing economy, there are a lot of opportunities springing up for the middle and upper class which help benefit them in various areas of life. However, all that exists for the low income class is NGO’s and charities and not solutions that could help empower them in order to transform their future.
My goal this summer was to explore the employment market in the slums of Karachi.
Let’s for a moment pause and learn what slums of Karachi are really like. A 'Slum' is a heavily populated urban informal settlement, which has substandard housing and lack of basic services like clean water, electricity, etc.
The population of Karachi slums is 2.5 Million as of 2016, that is almost thrice the population of San Francisco city. Since we’re talking about the job market, the income range of individuals residing in these areas is between $40 - $300/mo.
In Karachi, the largest metropolitan city of Pakistan, the ever so vicious cycle of the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer, has divided the masses more than ever in almost every aspect of life. According to the “Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs”, if the basic needs of humans are not fulfilled, they cannot be productive contributors of a society, and may have a higher potential of ending up indulging in wrongful acts.
Therefore, achieving financial stability in order to provide well for their families, is an important aspect for the male youth of lower income areas - and can yield results which benefit the community on the whole.
Despite getting a basic education if any, most lower-income class candidates fail to secure a job.
Majorly because only a small segment of privileged individuals can afford quality education which results in them getting the better jobs. Which is why most individuals in low-income areas restore to the common trades such as low ranking government employees, factory workers, teachers, drivers, etc.
"To understand the career aspirations of the male youth in the low income areas of Karachi, their reasons behind it and explore the opportunity areas available which this segment can benefit from to improve their financial standing in the society."
The interviews were primarily conducted in a small colony of Karachi known as Nishtar Basti. A criteria of various touch-points was laid out before the interviews took place.
Analyzing the competitive landscape and conducting field research brought forth some important insights which the project continues to build upon.
Uraan: Bringing the Youth and Opportunities Together
Uraan is a marketplace that creates awareness, inspiration and connections regarding entrepreneurship through a pop-up carnival, connecting the youth to relevant organizations working towards providing them skill training, financial literacy and investment opportunities.
Uraan exists to provide the youth of low income areas with awareness, inspiration and connections to achieve financial stability. It does so by evoking experiences of security, empowerment and community by holding pop-up entrepreneurial carnivals, youth memberships and partner connections.
Getting a quality education, therefore a good job is almost impossible with the current standing of the lower-income settlement families. Financial Stability can only come through Entrepreneurial Ventures. More than anything, the naivety of these individuals including their elders, regarding how competitive the market is, is what seems to be stopping them from growing. They do believe that their fate is set and therefore don’t even aspire to dream big.
All this can be changed by educating these individuals and involving them in positive goal-oriented activities.
Awareness to the outside world is very important
Changing the mindset that they aren’t helpless and can change their future with the right support
Involving the community especially the family, so the education is widespread
Inspiration and role models need to be introduced in the lives of the target user
Influence habit and daily activities
They need to be taught that often short term sacrifice is good for long term success