Put people with disabilities in the driving seat!

 
$9,590
$40,410
Raised
Remaining
TRP flyer got around 400 shares in only 2-days
TRP flyer got around 400 shares in only 2-days

Dear Supporters,

Gradually, the notion of people with disabilities offering a dial-a-rickshaw service is getting public receptiveness. With more customers and partners, we are moving towards our aim of making the project sustainable. During the last three months, the entire team of the Rickshaw Project has managed to attain the following goals:

  • We have streamlined the customers’ booking mechanism and now the customers can book the rickshaw by just filling out an online form
  • The recently shared service promotion flyer of the Rickshaw Project has gone viral at Facebook with more than 400 shares in just three days – numerous renowned personalities and celebrities have shown their support for this project. This has resulted in myriad queries from customers and have opened doors to forge institutional partnership
  • Since the project is also about advocating the rights of PWDs, we have given numerous sensitization sessions to the Pizza Hut employees. Zulqurnain Ashgar , who is the project manager for TRP and first visually impaired clinical psychologist of Pakistan has carried out these sessions
  • Amin Amir Andani has recently joined Rickshaw Project Team as a Project Officer (Operations). With his three years of experience in organizing large scale events of Pakistan, he will be a vital part of TRP to assist in the marketing and operational front
  • We have hired one more PWD named Arshad as our Project Driver. Before the rickshaw project, he faced sheer social discrimination – the streets of old Karachi area was his only home. According to Arshad, after joining the Rickshaw Project, his life has transformed. Not only he has got a job, but he uses the our office premises to live a quality life

We hope to have your continued support in future as well to steer us forward our journey of mainstreaming the people with disabilities. 

Best Regards,

The Rickshaw Project Team

TRP giving a Sensitization Session at Pizza Hut
TRP giving a Sensitization Session at Pizza Hut
Amin Amir Andani joins TRP as Project Officer
Amin Amir Andani joins TRP as Project Officer
Now our customers can book the rickshaw online
Now our customers can book the rickshaw online
Rahul Mehrotra in our rickshaw!
Rahul Mehrotra in our rickshaw!

Dear Supporters,

These are exciting times for The Rickshaw Project. As we strive to advocate for and raise awareness about people with disabilties - we have made significant strides to further a mandate through hiring, public speaking and product innovation - demonstrating that we are walking our talk!

The Rickshaw Project’s core team of three physically-impaired individuals after having undergone extensive training are now going to be led, from 10th February 2014, by Zulqarnain Asghar - the first visually impaired clinical psychologist in Pakistan. Zulqarnain brings with him 10 years of advocacy and awareness campaign experience in the disability sector and NOWPDP is thrilled and honored to have him onboard.

But the work has not stopped, the Project Drivers, with the assistance of the Advocacy & Training Officer, are actively involved in collaborative efforts with educational and private institutions in the last 3 months while catering to regular cutomers:

  • NOWPDP - our parent organization - has recently relocated to a beautiful house in the center of old Karachi as part of its initiative to take ownership and build an accessible office!
  • The Inclusive Society at The Lyceum School is working with us to create materials to use for our advocacy and sensitization efforts;
  • SZABIST (an engineering and social sciences university) has adopted The Rickshaw Project as a case study for their product design course. The students will be looking at elements of advocacy, sustanibility, engineering - through the lens of Finance, Social Sciences and Engineering coursework!
  • Engro Corp initiated a diversity initiative to make their workplace more inclusive; the team will be working to sensitize their workforce across the country and working with over 3000 employees of Engro!
  • The Rickshaw Team recently operated a shuttle service for the Pakistan Urban Forum - South Asian Cities Conference '14 at Frere Hall. We hope that those in attendance will raise the interests of various unrepresented and minority groups, including people with disabilities. The team has first hand experience of how exclusionary the urban planning process has been so far. Questions about institutionalized lack of accessibility; be it mass transport, housing, public institutions, etc - were asked and a dialogue was initiated. 

MOVING PEOPLE, CHANGING MINDS!!

Best Regards,

The Rickshaw Project Team

The team hard at work!
The team hard at work!
Our rickshaw navigating through a conference
Our rickshaw navigating through a conference

Links:

The most incredible team in the world!
The most incredible team in the world!

Dearest supporters, friends, and cheerleaders,

It's time for another update on The Rickshaw Project - I'm sure you're all anxiously waiting to hear what we've been up to!

The Rickshaw Team decided to bring on board a super-skilled mechanic. We met Shabaz when we were purchasing our three shiny new rickshaws from Stahlco, a local rickshaw manufacturer. He was working with them at the time, but had already given his one month's notice, when we decided it would be perfect to scoop him up for our own team! He's not only keeping our rickshaws in tip-top shape, but also handling customers, tracking rickshaw usage, billing, and other operational tasks. This has really helped me (the project manager) as it has freed up a lot of my time to work on advocacy and sensitizations efforts.

Speaking of sensitization efforts, the international chain of restaurants the Rickshaw Team has been working with has met their 2 percent quota for people with disabilities! They are not yet announcing this as they want to ensure that every single person with disabilities hired is fully, gainfully, and happily integrated into their respective environments with the help of our team's sensitization work. We are now in the early stages of discussions with a large corporation with factories across Pakistan to do the same thing - work with them to ensure a completely inclusive work environment at their Head Office and all their factories over the next year and a half. And who better to do this than our very own Rickshaw Team! :D

We are also currently searching for more customers. We've managed to get some regular customers who are pleased with the service and happy to be partnering with us. We've begun generating revenue, and are seeing it rise steadily each month. We've stuck to word-of-mouth advertizing thus far so as not to be overwhelmed with calls. Most of our customers so far have heard about our service from some and have wanted to try it. So we feel our strategy is working quite well!

Finally, we will have a new person join our team on the 1st of November. She will be working on developing advocacy and sensitization materials with the Rickshaw crew-members. We want to incorporate audio-visual material in our training sessions (one-minute clips depicting the various barriers faced by people with disabilities in society). Our new team member will spend her days working on this exciting, essential, constantly evolving task.

As always, please do feel free to email me with any questions you may have. I can be reached at reem@nowpdp.org and at +92 345 827 7017

Sincerely,

Reem

PS - I have attached a couple of recent pictures of the team. Enjoy!

The team-family
The team-family
Reem and Omair with Adama, our first customer!
Reem and Omair with Adama, our first customer!

Dearest friends and supporters,

It's been a few months since our last update, and this time we have exciting news - 

  We've begun operations on a small scale!!!

 As you may recall, we made the difficult decision of selling off our second-hand rickshaws. With the money we collected from the sale, we have bought three shiny new ones, with a fourth on the way! These new, smooth-running rickshaws have literally changed our lives for the better. It was a good decision, and one we were able to make due to your continued support and trust.

We've also experienced the thrilling milestone of having someone sign up as our very first customer! Adama moved to Karachi from the Ivory Coast a few months ago, and has been using our rickshaws to get to and from work everyday. We're so happy/pleased/delighted to have him on board! A picture of him, with Omair (the Executive Officer of NOWPDP) and myself is attached below.

Another piece of interesting news - a marketing genius (who wishes to remain anonymous) recently donated some of his time and skills to give us some marketing advice. He enouraged us to begin operations quietly, and continue to keep a low profile. His advice was to stick to word-of-mouth marketing for now, along with targeted promotion of the project at offices, schools, and universities until we have at least 50 rickshaws in our fleet. That is when he promises to step in and help us promote the project on a large scale. We're truly lucky to have such incredibly dedicated and helpful mentors/supporters!

The Rickshaw Project Team is doing well. They have been taking a lead in holding disability sensitization sessions at an international chain of restaurants here in Karachi. The management of the restaurant approached us, as they are keen to make the restaurant an inclusive space for both customers and employees. Our project team has therefore held 6 sessions with the restaurant staff so far, with about 21 to go. As a result, about 35 people with various disabilities have been hired by this restaurant, and are being put in roles matched to their skills sets and abilities. Our team is also working with them on the physical accessibility of the restaurants - a rare first in Pakistan!

The team has also been quite tough on me as the project manager when it comes to meeting deadlines and getting things done. They are involved in all decision-making, are a crucial part of all project plans, and have been playing the important role of managing operations until we can find the funds to hire a full-time operations manager. There is a true sense of ownership and responsibility displayed by each team-member, which makes this an incredible environment to work in. 

Finally, we will soon be pitching our three-year plan to various parties with the goal of finding a suitable long-term sponsor to support us by helping us with our operational costs until such time as we break even. It's going to be a tough journey, but we're certain of our projections, plans, and ambitions, so we're completely ready to do this!

As always, please feel free to email with with any questions or concerns that you may have at reem@nowpdp.org

We wish you a wonderful day, and thank you for your constant support and encouragement.

Lots of love,

The Rickshaw Project team

The first new rickshaw!
The first new rickshaw!
The second new rickshaw!
The second new rickshaw!
The newest new rickshaw!
The newest new rickshaw!
The rickshaw that made it all happen!
The rickshaw that made it all happen!

Dear friends and supporters,

I hope this update finds you all in good spirits!

The Rickshaw Project has come a long way since our last update. After a year of experimentation and trial, and finally finding the perfect retrofitting solution, the team (Mustafa, Imran, Pervaiz, Mohammad Ali, Rauf, and Reem) with a lot of help from Nabil and Omair (the core NOWPDP team) have made a rather huge decision - we're selling off our second-hand rickshaws and purchasing brand new ones. Let me explain further...

While our second-hand, retrofitted rickshaws were little miracles that have given us in depth knowledge and understanding of, well, rickshaws, we decided it would be better to have brand new ones until we have the funds to hire our own in-house mechanic and run our own mini-workshop for small repairs and day-to-day maintenance.

New rickshaws are more fuel efficient and reliable. The retrofitting for accessibility will be done by the manufacturer, ensuring quality and safety. We also want to encourge the widespread manufacturing/sale of hand-controlled rickshaws, so that anyone with a disability has access to them, not just people working with The Rickshaw Project. We feel it's another small step towards inclusion and equal access.  

We've got a good price for each of the second-hand rickshaws, and will be using the funds to purchase new ones. Your donations will still be utilized in the same way; however, since there will be no need to retrofit, the funds will suppliment the money we get from the sale of the second-hand rickshaws, and go towards buying new ones.

Your help and support has given us the tools to truly understand everything before we begin scaling, and to make all the right choices to ensure long-term sustainability. For that, we thank you.


Feel free to email me with any questions you my have - reem@nowpdp.org

PS - We are however, keeping the rickshaw that we experimented on, and that brought everything and everyone together. We just can't let her go.

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Project Leader

Omair Ahmad

Executive Officer
Karachi, Sindh Pakistan

Where is this project located?