Breaking boundaries is never easy, especially for a woman. And in conservative societies like ours, it’s many times tougher. The transition from a meek, dependent, and house-bound woman to a confident, fearless, and independent one takes years of struggle. When faced with the lows of life, only a leap of faith can change things for the better.
That’s exactly the story of Kiran Fateh, a female food delivery rider who is making headlines for breaking stereotypes by entering a field deemed made exclusively for men. Working for foodpanda, she’s delivering food orders to customers and earning loads of appreciation and support from everywhere. In doing so, she has left her sad past behind and has reigns of her life in her very own hands.
Kiran Fateh, ready to deliver her next food order | Picture Credit: Tooba Masroor
“Your circumstances force you to take tough and life-altering decisions, so did mine,” shares Kiran. “Prior to foodpanda, I worked as a polio worker through a third-party contract. When the contract lapsed, I tried hard to find a job but to no avail. Then, my ex-supervisor and a good friend jokingly floated the idea of working for foodpanda. She even applied on my behalf and nobody knew it would actually become a reality.”
Kiran says she had even applied to different ride-hailing services but they couldn’t agree to her demand of female-only rides. “I was required to pick any ride that I got – male or female – a situation that I wasn’t comfortable with. So I decided to give foodpanda a try instead; riding a bike was my childhood dream and through food delivery, I would finally be living that dream while sustaining my livelihood.”
Having joined the foodpanda fleet of delivery riders in May 2020, Kiran has found her experience to be exciting and pleasant so far. When asked about the challenges that she might have faced being a woman bike rider in Pakistan, she said, “I have only received support and appreciation from customers and my fellow riders who are always there for my help. Initially, I found it hard to locate addresses and understand area layouts but my colleagues walked the extra mile to guide me and overcome that obstacle.”
Kiran says it’s her confident outlook that keeps her safe from any misbehavior while she’s out in the field. The only fear that she has is of an incident of phone or cash snatching which is a common occurrence for Karachi riders. “We have to keep decent smartphones to run the foodpanda app and use maps, and we have to keep them in the open. So there’s always the risk of an unpleasant robbing event.”
Kiran got divorced a few years ago, and chose to make her own living. She remarried recently and says her husband is supportive of her job as a food delivery rider. “I’m an independent and confident woman now. And I don’t rely on anyone to run an errand for me or support me financially, anymore. I have learned to face life head-on and embrace all its challenges single-handedly. It’s a good, liberating feeling that I want all women to experience.”
foodpanda promotes equal opportunity employment and offers ready-to-start income opportunities as delivery riders, restaurant or shop operators, and as home chefs to people in 30 cities across the country. Anyone can become a foodpanda rider by registering here.