A non-profit organization, NOWPDP, has announced an initiative to create new employment opportunities for the disabled (and differently-abled) community of Pakistan by handing out hand-controlled rickshaws.
In Pakistan, the government has not done enough to support the disabled community, leaving it to local entrepreneurs and non-profits to take it into their hands to make life easier for the less fortunate. NOWPDP is an organization that focuses on inclusion through empowerment of persons with disabilities. Working in the development sector, they have a number of programs to ensure that Persons with disabilities (PWDs) have equal access to opportunities and are an integral part of society.
The Rickshaw Project
The Rickshaw Project, a new initiative by NOWPDP, is the launch of a new a fleet of rickshaws which have been retrofitted to be hand-controllable. These rickshaws will be driven by persons with disabilities in Karachi. The project will initially start with five drivers with lower-limb impairments, but they aim to have around 100 rickshaws and potential 100 employment opportunities for persons with disabilities soon.
“Our goal is to transform 100 lives of persons with disabilities and their families over the period of a year through these innovative rickshaws.”
They will provide vocational training in the start to equip persons with disabilities with rickshaw driving skills along with its basic repair alongside a health insurance to protect the drivers and their families.
Muhammad Anwar, a rickshaw driver from Lyari
“I spent my entire life in a roofless house at Mewa Shah Graveyard (Lyari) without any hope of change due to my inability to walk,” said Muhammad Anwar, a person with lower-limb impairment and one of the first participants in the project.
“My life transformed completely when I got a hand-controlled rickshaw and skill to drive it.”
From being dependent on neighbors and family, Anwar is now earning a respectable amount of Rs. 25,000 per month. The rickshaw itself costs the organization Rs. 250,000 (including the retrofitting cost) and they are looking for donations to help take their initiatives even further.
It is also worth noting that NOWPDP has been actively working for the empowerment of PWDs. They have managed to train over 500 PWDs, creating 250+ job placements along the way. Just last year, they also organized a startup called “Khud Mukhtar” competition specifically for the disabled.