Lal Shehzadi Karimabad, Pakistan
Lal Shahzadi means “precious princess,” a name she was given by her father at birth.
- Age: 38
- Location: Karimabad, Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan (see map)
- Lives with: Her two sons and two daughters, and her husband, a retired soldier.
- Profession: Lal is the owner of Hunza Food Pavilion, a stall serving local foods. She is a trained cook in organic foods and tries her best to use local, homegrown ingredients at her stall.
- Greatest challenge: Working in a space dominated by men. Lal’s husband is unemployed, so Lal provides for the household.
Samantha Dobo Vancouver, Canada
“Samantha was [a name] that came to my mom in a dream.”
- Age: 30
- Location: Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada (map)
- Lives with: Her partner, Xch'e', and their cat, Machete.
- Profession: Sam is the co-owner of Tasty Greens, an urban farm that sells microgreens – nutrient-rich and flavourful small versions of full-grown vegetables.
- Greatest challenge: Sam is currently healing from a type of cancer called Nodular Sclerosis Classical Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. The cancer has brought about personal and business challenges, but Sam expresses gratitude for what the experience has taught her and the support her community has shown her.
When she returns home, Lal cuts firewood, and then wakes up her children. She says it can be a challenge, as they often don't want to get out of bed.
This ceremony is intended to help balance the body, mind, and spirit, and promotes healing.
Sam co-owns Tasty Greens with her partner Xch'e'. They started the company together after years of tree planting: "We could live in a tent together... [so] we knew we could work together."
Self-described workaholics, Sam says they knew that starting a business together was the only way they would get to spend as much time together as they wanted. Sam was already growing the greens for her and Xch'e' – so she did a business program, and they scaled up production.
Back in Karimabad, Lal is getting greens ready for her customers, too.
She and her business partner, Chand Bibi also prepare burutz-shapik (cheese bread), using the chapati Lal made that morning...
...and a fresh noodle soup, locally known as doudo.
Lal started her business after attending an entrepreneurship training in Karimabad. Her idea was selected for award of 100,000 rupees (about $1,200) which she invested in the business.
This training and award were part of a program supported by Aga Khan Foundation Canada to promote economic empowerment for entrepreneurs – especially women – in this region in Pakistan.
In five years...
Lal dreams of more opportunities for women in her community and imagines a future where the Karimabad market is run by local women.
“I’d like to have a clean bill of health and I would like to have a kid or two. I’d like to move somewhere more rural and replicate our life – but in a deeper community way – and be of service more. And be less about hard deadlines and meeting requirements of living in the city.”
Caro Rolando, Danial Shah, Xch’e’ Hernandez Simper