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Pakistani student makes it to Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia 2020 list

A Pakistani student studying in London has made it to the Forbes'”30 Under 30 Asia” list.

Bilal Bin Saqib, who hails from Lahore and recently graduated from the London School of Economics (LSE) in Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship, has been recognized by Forbes alongside some of the brightest Asian millennials for his charitable project in rural Sindh and Balochistan which has helped thousands of people gain access to clean water.

Saqib told that he was overjoyed to be made part of the list. “I am honoured that I was able to make Pakistan proud. I have been chosen by Forbes for helping the water-deprived communities in Pakistan,” he said.

According to Forbes, “Bilal Bin Saqib is founder of Tayaba, a social enterprise that aims to provide solutions to the water crisis in Pakistan. One of its initiatives is the ‘H2O wheel,’ a plastic wheel container connected to a metal bar that helps to reduce the burden on women and children who carry water in rural Pakistan for miles each day. The wheel can carry up to 40 litres of water, which is eight to 10 times more than what a mud pot (traditionally used to carry water) can hold.”

Saqib, 29, was born in Lahore. After getting his education from the Lahore Grammar School, he went to Queen Mary University of London for his undergrad followed by a masters at the London School of Economics.

Four years ago, Saqib launched the Tayaba project which aims to solve Pakistan’s water crisis. “Rural Pakistani women and children have to transport heavy ceramic jugs of water on their heads over several kilometres, which not only causes injuries but also limits the capacity of water they can bring back home,” he told.

“This idea originated after I travelled to West Africa, where I saw people pushing or pulling clean water in plastic containers attached to steel bars,” Saqib shared.

Saqib claims Tayaba has already distributed over 5,500 of these H2O Wheels in Sindh, helping over 30,000 women, children and families from rural and poor backgrounds.

The COVID-19 lockdown has halted Saqib’s plans to travel back to Pakistan, however, he is not the one to sit idle. He and his friends have started One Million Meals, an initiative to provide NHS staff with free, hot and nutritious meals to help them in their fight against COVID-19. His campaign has been endorsed by star footballer David Beckham and featured in British media.

The 29-year-old believes everyone has their part to play in this crisis. “We might not be able to save lives ourselves, but we can provide our life-savers with the fuel they need to beat this,” he said.

So far, One Million Meals has provided thousands of meals to over 30 hospitals in the UK, with demand from over 70 hospitals.

Saqib who struggled in school with dyslexia, said he never let this be an obstacle for him as he continues to push boundaries.

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