desi mideast asia latin africana
Page Title Graphic

« Previous 1 2 1 2 Next »

Bilal Ahmed, Co-Founder/Director

Bilal and Impak

Contrary to popular belief, a top-notch undergraduate engineering degree doesn’t always lead a cubicle-bound lifestyle. Take 26-year old Co-Founder and Co-Director Bilaal Ahmed of the non-profit organization Impak. After embarking on a trip that allowed him to experience Pakistan free of various preconceived notions, Bilaal wanted to give others the opportunity to experience the same. Impak was co-founded by Bilaal along with two others, and serves as one of the first comprehensive volunteer programs in Pakistan. The greatest challenge of the organization lies in the volunteer’s attempt to assimilate into the vastly different day-to-day functionality of Pakistan. Still, this culture shock hasn’t prevented the organization from receiving momentous success. In fact, the overwhelming influx of applicants has even forced Impak to periodically turn volunteers down. Learn more about their altruism and selfless generosity by reading this week’s Non-Profit Spotlight.




March 2004




Bilaal Ahmed, 26, Co-Founder & Co-Director


Sugar Land, Texas

Current residence

Arlington, Virginia


Georgia Tech, BS Electrical Engineering, 2001

Past Experience

Independent Consultant


Pakistani (Karachi)

About the Non-profit

Impak is a private, non-profit organization that seeks to bring positive change by connecting individuals abroad to Pakistan through meaningful work and volunteer opportunities.

Most notable milestones

With only a few resources we successfully launched a pilot program in the summer of 2005. For this summer we sent 13 volunteers from the US and UK to work in the earthquake hit regions of Northern Pakistan.

What’s the niche?

We’re a service corps, in a similar mold as Peace Corps and the UK’s Volunteers Serving Overseas. I don’t think there are any US-based organizations that facilitate such a comprehensive volunteer experience in Pakistan. Also, we cater to all individuals, including those who are not of South Asian origin.

What’s the biggest challenge?

Organizations in Pakistan work very differently from the type of work environment we experience in the US. Our challenge is to adapt to the local way of doing things and develop a relationship that is mutually beneficial.

What’s in store for the future?

We would like to become a ‘Doctors Without Borders’ for a variety of trades and professions in the non-profit and private sectors of Pakistan. Our vision is to bring communities together, united with the common goal of making a positive impact.

« Previous 1 2 1 2 Next »

Guiding principle in life

Impak is inclusive, non-denominational and operates on strictly altruistic and humanitarian principles.

For anyone that wants to start something, our advice would be to take the bold step. Constraints such as money, resources and inexperience should not impede an unwavering belief in your vision.

Yardstick of success

We measure success relatively. Impak is an obvious play on the word “impact.” An internal impact felt by a single volunteer’s experience and how that resonates in her life we would deem success. Similarly, we view success in whether that single volunteer was able to affect a single life in Pakistan. However, we don’t fall into the trap of measuring success through only grandiose, macroeconomic benchmarks.

Goal yet to be achieved

We’ve accomplished a lot of our initial goals but we have an infinite number that have yet to be achieved.

Best practical advice

For anyone that wants to start something, our advice would be to take the bold step. Constraints such as money, resources and inexperience should not impede an unwavering belief in your vision.


There are two people who we are extremely grateful for in our effort in realizing Impak: Ethan Casey, author of “Alive and Well in Pakistan,” and Sonal Shah, founder of Indicorps.

What motivated you to get started?

I had some experience traveling in the Middle East and South Asia that opened me open to the idea of development. It was an 8-month trip through all parts of Pakistan with the Human Development Foundation (http://www.hdf.com) where I recognized that other individuals deserve the opportunity to experience and connect with Pakistan in a way that breaks down preconceived notions.

What keeps you motivated?

Impak is the collective effort of Mustafa Hadi (UK), Sarah Karim (Pakistan) and myself. These are two of the most dedicated and passionate individuals I have ever met. We all keep each other motivated and value what each of us individually brings into this organization.

Like best about what you do

We are always amazed at the applicants we receive every year from individuals of all backgrounds interested in making a difference. For us to have some role in facilitating that vision is thoroughly rewarding.

Like least about what you do

The fact that we can’t accept all applicants into this program.

At age 10, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I had no idea; I think there were some options ranging from a career as a grocery store sacker to a fireman. Medicine was never an option.

Biggest pastime outside of work

I’m a serial entrepreneur and I constantly like putting ideas into practice. Also, in my spare time I enjoy tossing around a frisbee.

Person most interested in meeting

How about myself about 10 years ago? Earlier in life I had no idea what direction I was headed in and I would love to give myself a pep speech about believing in myself and not getting discouraged.

Three interesting facts about yourself

  1. I was born in Germany and have had four different nationalities (British, Canadian, Pakistani, US) at some point in my life.
  2. I’ve backpacked through Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Greek Cyprus, Israel and Palestine (West Bank), and Egypt.
  3. I would have made a terrible electrical engineer.

Three characteristics that describe you

Diligent, Passionate, and a Big Nose

Three greatest passions

Development (namely in Pakistan), Community (family, friends, associations), and Hyderbadi Biryani

Favorite book

Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie.

Favorite cause

Impak, of course. However, I’d like to think of myself as an equal opportunity giver, and would volunteer time and resources for any organization, both local and international, with a strong vision and passion for what they do.

Favorite place to be in the world

At my Nani’s house in Karachi eating some homemade mitthai.

« Previous 1 2 1 2 Next »


Interview by Pooja Merai
Introduction by Rupa Dev

Also this week

Julianne FelixPaula AlvaradoDaniel Zoughbie

Don’t forget!

Young & Professional Profile | News2Know

Toolbar Help
Press | Advertisers | Partners | Opportunities | Privacy Policy | Editorial Policy | Unsubscribe | Sitemap
The DesiConnect
The MidEastConnect
The AsiaConnect
The LatinConnect
The AfricanaConnect