From trailing spouse to business venture

Here we are is here to encourage our members to use and develop their skills, pursue their interests and create meaningful lives on the move. A great example of this comes from our local chapter in Bishkek. Please meet Qurrat Ul Ain Khan, in our network also known as Annie, she is a wife, mother of two, and experienced English teacher – and now also the owner of a new catering venture.  

Annie’s move, from Saudi Arabia to Kyrgyz Republic, was no insignificant feat. She had moved to Bishkek, the capital city, with her two school going children and with a full realization that she would be living on her own in Bishkek as her husband would be living away from them on the university campus in Naryn town and would be visiting them only on the weekends. Naryn Town is at four hour’s drive from Bishkek.

When here we are’s Central Asia Focal Point Nasima Karim met Annie for the first time, she found her an extremely soft spoken, cultured and composed person. The pivot of her life was her husband, children and home. Still, one could sense a certain restlessness in her, also a drive to assert her individuality. Undeterred by a foreign and new country and the allied challenges of a new language, culture, locale and climate, she undertook the task of familiarizing herself with all that was alien.

While getting to know her new home, Annie learned about here we are global and meet Nasima. Together they met, discussed and brainstormed an entrepreneurial idea which had been germinating in Annie’s mind for a while.

Though Annie was professionally an experienced English language teacher, her passion had been cuisine and cookery. She indeed possessed superb culinary skills. Nasima had a full realization of the value of these skills and encouraged Annie to make good use of them. Nasima did not stop with mere encouragement but also assured Annie of her full practical support.

The city of Bishkek can barely boast of having good Indian/Pakistani restaurants or caterers. There is an estimated population of about 3000 students from the subcontinent and several expat families who yearn for wholesome home cooked delicious meals as Kyrgyz food is totally bland and does not tickle the spice-loving taste buds of all people. Thus, both ladies could see a great demand for delicious spicy sub-continent cuisine.

Both worked tirelessly on the Business Plan. They worked out the details of marketing through social media, logistics, customer service, mode of payment, menu planning and finally the possibility of launching a catering business. It seemed very much feasible.

As an initial test launch, they arranged a lunch for a group of friends to introduce them to the taste of the cuisine. Annie prepared a sumptuous feast of mouthwatering Pakistani delicacies. The taste of spicy sizzling food was much appreciated and heartily partaken by all. Within a few days of this they launched a full-scale catering service to provide meals to those who were craving for it.

What was once a mere notion, materialized as “HAPPY HOME FOODS“ and officially launched as a catering business … Annie, with the support of Nasima Karim, certainly had made her debut and is now all set to realize her passion of cookery and cuisine through a small scale catering venture!

Story by Sohaila Pirani, member of here we are global, Communication Consultant and Travel Writer currently located in the Kyrgyz Republic.

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