SEW-EGAP (SEPLAA Empowering Women for Economic Growth & Peace) Women Empowerment Program announced its third SEWEGAP Power Woman for 2016: Nuria Rafique Iqbal.
Born and raised in the UK, Nuria is a qualified UK solicitor specializing in corporate finance. After having worked for over 7 years with international law firms Nuria moved to Pakistan in 2004 and changed her focus to social welfare and philanthropy.
In 2005, she co-founded The Fundraisers Bargain Basement Sale, a volunteer organization that raises funds for charities that are doing good work but require funds. At the Bargain Basement Sale designers/brands donate items which are then sold at discount prices with all monies going for charity. This is an annual event held in Lahore with the last sale being held on 15th November 2015 and raising over Rs.5,000,000 which was distributed between four charities.
In 2009 Nuria co-founded with friends the charity Rising Stars Foundation (formerly known as Pakistan Rising) which started out as an emergency relief aid organization, and then went into education founding 5 schools in various parts of Pakistan. She has been involved in fundraising work for charity, including organizing and curating an auction of Pakistani contemporary art at Bonhams, London in Oct’11 and Oct’13.
In 2010, Nuria founded Labour & Love, a social enterprise (charity) working only with impoverished women in and around Lahore training them in handicraft skills, enabling women to work from home and earn an income. As part of Labour & Love, in February 2015 Nuria launched the “Iqra Project” aimed at raising funds for education of underprivileged children in Muslim countries by collaborating with different artists/artisans from various Muslim countries to create a range of products celebrating the word “Iqra”, the first word spoken to the Prophet (pbuh) with proceeds donated to charities.
In 2013, Nuria co-founded the Khayaal Creative Network, a non-profit aimed at promoting creativity in all its forms in Pakistan. This formalized into the Khayaal Festival, a 2 day festival celebrating the arts with a series of talks by leading artists, actors, film makers, writers, journalists and dancers that gathered several creativity enthusiasts.