Pink rickshaw introduced for women in Lahore

Team HTV Aug 13 2015

A Pakistani environmentalist has launched her own rickshaw service, exclusively for women passengers and drivers in her home city of Lahore. According to Zar Aslam, she was fed up with being groped and harassed by male auto-rickshaw drivers and this inspired her to take such an initiative.

Aslam, who is also the president of Environment Protection Fund, said she once narrowly escaped kidnapping by a rickshaw driver when she was a student, which triggered the idea of launching her “Pink Rickshaw” service.

“This is another step towards women’s financial and professional empowerment,” Aslam told Reuters at her home in Lahore, showing off her first rickshaw.

“I and my co-workers face harassment by male auto drivers or by passersby while waiting for public transport.”

The “rickshaws” are covered three-wheel motorcycles and Aslam bought one to start with, added fans, doors and headlights and painted it pink and white.

The plan is to have at least 25 up and running by the end of the year, with the Aslam looking out for sponsors.

“One auto costs 300,000 rupees (about $3,000), therefore it cannot be done without sponsorship from donors,” she said, adding that the government has not offered any assistance.

“We will lease out the autos to deserving females on easy instalment,” Aslam said. “We will teach them driving and will also help them get the driving license.”

Furthermore, she stated that when talking about women empowerment, one has to begin with the basics such as transportation because it is owing to such insecurities that women hesitate working.

She particularly mentioned one man, a rickshaw driver, who was so excited that he had already started giving his wife driving lessons. Ms. Aslam believed this one example was an achievement in itself where the whole stigma associated to female public drivers vanished and shattered the gender/ cultural barriers.

News source: Reuters

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