Pakistani social entrepreneur named in Forbes list

Bilal was selected for his initiative to address Pakistan’s water crisis

Bilal Tayaba A collage showing Bilal Bin Saqib and the H20 Wheels supplied by Tayaba | Official Facebook accounts

In April 2019, revered yoga guru Jaggi Vasudev (popularly known as Sadhguru) was criticised by the students union of the London School of Economics. During an event at the London School of Economics in March that year, Sadhguru referred to an LSE student, Bilal Bin Saqib, as being a "Taliban". The students union accused Sadhguru of Islamophobia.

Sadhguru apologised for the incident and said a clip of the conversation has been "mischievously edited". Sadhguru referred to Bilal as a being a "wonderful young man, having aspirations to make an impact in the world … The last thing I have is any ill-will or intention to abuse or insult him".

Now, a year after the incident with Sadhguru, Bilal Bin Saqib is back in the news. Forbes Magazine has named him its list of "top young entrepreneurs" in Asia. Forbes claims the list was finalised from over 3,500 nominations, covering domains such as the arts, consumer technology, enterprise technology, retail and social entrepreneurs. A total of 30 young entrepreneurs are selected in each domain.

Bilal was selected in the category of social entrepreneurs. The Forbes profile for Bilal Bin Saqib notes he is the "cofounder 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 is able to 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." Bilal claims Tayaba has distributed about 5,500 H20 wheels in Pakistan.

Bilal pursued his undergraduate degree at Queen Mary University in London and post-graduation at LSE. Bilal graduated from LSE with an Msc in social innovation and entrepreneurship in 2019.

In April, Bilal and two associates launched the 'One Million Meals' campaign to donated a million free meals to personnel engaged in the fight against coronavirus in the UK. According to the London School of Economics, "The campaign provides key workers like NHS staff, police, school staff and firefighters with free meals during the COVID-19 crisis, by raising funds and working with food platforms, food chains and restaurants." Football legend David Beckham had announced his support for the 'One Million Meals' campaign.