Pakistan, Asia

PAK04 - EGM Friends Fashion Centre: Partnership Reports



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Report Date: February 14, 2014

Update from Executive Director

 


good quality jeansIn January 2013 we visited the Friends Fashion Centre (FFC) in a predominantly Christian slum area in urban Lahore. The purpose of this visit was to consider whether Bright Hope World would invest further into the FFC, given that it had run short of funds after the initial start-up investment.

The FFC itself appears to be running quite well. 

The factory is well set-up with obvious concern for the safety and wellbeing of the workers. It is not a huge factory, with perhaps 20 machines and stations, but it was evident that the workers knew what they were doing - watching them work was quite astounding - they are very fast!

good qualityIn mid 2013 further funding was given to the FFC to pay for a water cooler, ventilation and a wall to shade the workers from the hot Pakistani sun. Summer in Lahore would be unbearable without such assistance.

A full day was set aside in the visit to completely review the budget and cashflow forecast, and supporting strategies, for the FFC. There are some lingering concerns as to whether the team there has all the skills required to run such a business, but they certainly do not lack enthusiasm or dedication, and they are happy to set aside any personal gain for themselves for the sake of the business and associated ministry.

A budget was created that showed a small profit, but was still aspirational for the team. In retrospect the likely returns from the FFC may not justify the large investment, but there is potential for profitability and small, managed growth.

All menEach month since then the FFC team has reported back to Bright Hope World as to performance, including the provision of bank statements to show funds available. Bright Hope World funded two additional sewing machines in mid 2013 that have helped improve productivity and lift the overall performance of the factory.

While the FFC made a small loss in 2013, three of the last four months of the year were profitable, and the budget for 2014 is predicting a strong increase in sales and profitability based on improved production as a result of the new machines.

Doing business in Pakistan is very difficult and quite different than doing business in New Zealand or any other western country. The team at FFC have done well to begin to grow a small business from nothing in an environment where power supply, water and safety can all be quite unpredictable. Not long after we left Pakistan a local muslim group burned much of the neighbouring Christian slum to the ground. 

 

Current Issues and Challenges

new machineThe key challenges for the Friends Fashion Centre are effectively running a small enterprise in a challenging environment with limited capability and skills. There is apparently demand for their products, but things can change quickly and predicting costs is not easy.

 

Prayer and Praise Points

Please pray that the team at FFC will lead the business with wisdom and skill, and that God would protect their endeavours from opposition.

If the FFC can grow as a business, its potential to support other ministries in Pakistan is considerable.