Empowering Women Entrepreneurs Worldwide

Aashi Nazeer, Allah Rakhi and Majeeda Bibi, Pakistan

by Shai Chishty

Shai Chishty

Shai Chishty is a London based documentary photographer. She established her career working with NGOs on humanitarian projects such as post-cyclone disaster recovery in Bangladesh and the East African food crisis. She has worked with prestigious global organisations including Christian Aid and Islamic Relief. Shai is particularly interested in the impact of development on women and worked with UN Women on a project highlighting trafficking prevention strategies. Shai’s work has been published internationally – most notably her coverage of the 2014 Afghan elections featured in The Independent’s weekend magazine. Her work on drug rehabilitation received an Honourable Mention in the 2013 Magenta Flash Forward Award. She is currently exploring identity and notions of ‘otherness’ within her work.

Recently graduated from an MA in Photojournalism & Documentary Photography at the London College of Communication, Shai is developing her conceptual practice exploring identity and notions of ‘otherness’. Her most recent project “Lifting the Veil” presents a new perspective on the women behind the face veil to challenge prevailing preconceptions.


A few words from the photographer

“I applied for this commission because I am interested in international development and the concept of microfinance is something I believe is a game changer, so I wanted to play a part in making it more visible. In my view, loans offer the recipient an opportunity to feel empowered to create their own success, breaking their own cycle of poverty. There is dignity in this approach as the power dynamic is better balanced. I was eager to not only learn and understand more from the women themselves, but also to raise awareness and celebrate their successes. I hope my work will encourage people in the UK to support this project and become lenders and I hope it will also encourage women to seek out microfinance when they need it to help pave their own entrepreneurial careers. I was very happy with the commission process end to end. My expectations were always managed and everything was made clear to me from the outset. I was glad to have access to two experienced individuals throughout who made time to support my development as well as the project goals.”

Shaista Chishty