A glimpse of The Rickshaw Project training
With NOWPDP emphasizing a lot on innovative measures for people with disabilities, the Rickshaw Project is expanding fast as we speak. The Rickshaw Project has rickshaws of an unconventional kind. These rickshaws are retrofitted such that all control comes in the hands which means people with lower limb disabilities can drive a whole vehicle by themselves.
Apart from these rickshaws, extensive training is given to people with disabilities at the NOWPDP Training Center which imparts skills-development training to people with disabilities. Only last year, 428 individuals were trained. The premise behind this skills-development training is to ensure that the prospective drivers have not only mastered a skill but can maneuver the vehicles with great finesse for their own and everybody else’s safety. The rickshaw driving training at NOWPDP Training Center consists of teaching drivers how to drive a retrofitted rickshaw, the possible routes one can take, traffic rules and repair – maintenance if the vehicle breaks down.
The drivers that score the most through a stringent criteria get to have the retrofitted rickshaw on lease which helps them earn a livelihood that they were not earning before.
This year, the rickshaws have been put to a brave and noble use. "Aurat March" or Women March was held on the International Women’s Day in Karachi where people with disabilities were also covered extensively in their mandate. In solidarity, our rickshaws driven by our beneficiaries with disabilities drove with the march carrying assistive devices, water and marchers with disabilities, pregnant or the elderly. This was a gesture that was not missed by many.
Here are some testimonials of our brilliant rickshaw drivers who have started earning their livelihood through The Rickshaw Project. You can support more Sultans and Abids by donating to the project and helping us reiterate that people with disabilities can do anything they set their minds to!
“I do come to NOWPDP even now after my training because of the bond I have developed with the organization and the people in it. This place gives me hope. When I received the rickshaw after the rickshaw driving training from NOWPDP, my family members invited everybody and celebrated and prayed and that filled me with me immense joy. I am very careful with the rickshaw that I have now. It is my way of earning a livelihood and supporting my family. For me it is my best friend, my identity and I guard it with everything I have.” - Sultan has a physical disability.
“I used to be a bus conductor despite the fact that I have a lower limb disability. I did everything with great finesse even though the work involved a lot of movement. But after a point, I was made to leave. I came to NOWPDP looking for some way to turn my life around. People had spoken well about this place. I received training in rickshaw driving and then I received my rickshaw. I have been able to earn for myself and family again and I have also gotten to cherish my relationship with NOWPDP.” - Abid has a physical disability
* Necessary permissions were taken from the individuals for using their names and pictures.
The rickshaws and team at "Aurat March"