Aug 27, 2019

Beating the heat with The Rickshaw Project

Beating the heat
Beating the heat

We have had an exceptional summer at The Rickshaw Project. Not only did we involve our fleet by 3 rickshaws, we have had an opportunity to involve our drivers in activities that enabled them to help individuals.

As this year has been labelled one of the hottest we have experienced, we took this opportunity to collaborate with Nestle, and help provide chilled water to traffic wardens across the city. One can only wonder and be astonished at how these individuals stand in the heat, despite the sun bearing down on them and slight increase in temperature due to the many cars on the road. Our drivers were keen to extend their thanks and volunteered their services for the day and contribute however much possible.

NOWPDP has embarked on an initiative to combat plastic pollution by developing eco-conscious, gender sensitive and disability inclusive sustainable tote bags. This is an initiative to contribute positively toward the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. Our rickshaws are deeply involved in this initiative, they offer their services by:

-          Picking up cloth from mills that wish to donate their excess materials

-          Delivering cloths back and forth for stitching, especially to women who stitch but are unable to leave their house

-          Deliver to individuals who have purchased these bags

Currently our fleet has increased to 12 rickshaws, with your help we wish to cross the 20 mark by the end of 2019. It is truly a remarkable moment, when an individual who was helpless in the past is taking pride in contributing in helping humanity.

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May 28, 2019

Growth and Changes

Union Council Office
Union Council Office

Ever since I started managing The Rickshaw Project, I have been busy getting myself acquainted to the processes and revising our SOPs.

A few updates since our last report:

Revision of SOPS & Stakeholder Feedback 

We have streamlined our recruitment program. From identification of a needful person with disability to training and handing over of rickshaws. We have also set up a monthly group meeting with the drivers and my team, in which they share their experiences with each other. This is also an opportunity for the drivers to discuss and give feedback, which we employ for TRP.

Sensitization and Awareness Sessions 

Team TRP with the assistance of NOWPDP’s outreach department held a sensitization session in one of Karachi’s many marginalized and disenfranchised communities. The session was held in the Union Councillor’s office in Machar Colony (Fisherman’s Colony). This colony is perhaps one of the biggest colony in Karachi, with lanes wide enough only for 2 people abreast to walk in. Our rickshaws with their skilled drivers proved useful in navigating those lanes and reaching our destination.


We educated the attendees of the session as to what we as an NGO do and invited the disabled of the community to visit our offices.

Marketing & Celebrity Rides 

In the month of April, Danish Ambassador to Pakistan, Mr. Rolf Holmboe, visited our office. We took him around Karachi like a true Karachiite in our hand-controlled rickshaw driven by our colleague with disability (video attached).

Growth of the Fleet 

TRP has been able to meet its targets of expanding its fleet. In the last 3 months we have been able to add 3 more rickshaws – taking our total to 10 rickshaws. Training for 3 potential drivers is underway and pretty soon they will be on the road.

Proposed business growth in Health and Waste Management sector 

We are currently in the planning stage of developing rickshaws besides the ride hailing model. We are working on these other opportunities in order to expand on our SDG goals profile. Currently the options we are working on are Waste Management, Ambulance Rickshaw (for hard to reach areas) and Water tanked rickshaw, but more on that later.

Rickshaw Project represent!
Rickshaw Project represent!

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Feb 13, 2019

The Rickshaw Project revived - 2 years later

Meet Anwar - Economically Empowered
Meet Anwar - Economically Empowered

For the past 3 years our team has been focusing on vocational training for people with disabilities, teaching women with hearing or visual impairments skills that could help them navigate through society. They have been helping teaching computer skills to individuals and helping them in getting jobs in companies. 

 

Upon recently joining NOWPDP as a consultant Physical Therapist, I came across The Rickshaw Project. Working with patients who have disabilities most of my professional life, apart from physically being impaired, their mental health is also a growing issue. One of the biggest reasons for this is their feeling helpless in providing sustenance for themselves or their families. The Rickshaw Project was a way of helping these individuals and much more. I personally took the initiative in reviving this project. 

 

Since June 2018, the project has evolved. We have taken the rickshaws that were being used as pick & drop services and have started renting them out to drivers to use as a taxiing passenger service across the city. The reason for that, as I explained earlier, is that apart from physical intervention, a mental intervention is also much needed for people with disabilities. 

 

Our drivers who have transitioned into this model are now proudly self-employed. They pay us a daily rent of Rupees 200 (1.3 USD), and take home the rest of their earnings. This has been a self-sustaining model for past year and has helped us in expanding our fleet. We have now 7 rickshaws in our fleet and 30 people in-waiting already gone through their trainings.

 

We would like to expand our fleet further to provide more people with opportunities to become self-employed. The funds generated by rent collection will sustain this model in the years to come, additionally, some of the funds can be used to help other projects spearheaded by NOWPDP. By the end of 2019, we would like to see 100 retrofitted rickshaws on the streets of Karachi. 

Your help in the previous years has been a huge help in getting where we are right now.     

If you have any question, please contact me at info@nowpdp.org 

 

Faheem Khan

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