After the untimely demise of her father, a young woman from Karachi has taken up the hard task of joining a male-dominating profession of driving an auto-rikshaw to support her family in this era of rising inflation and unemployment.
Late Abdul Jameel, a rickshaw driver had no son and he had prepared his youngest daughter Alisha Abdul Jameel for the hard times. Alisha who resides in Karachi’s Drigh Road Locality, wants to fulfill the wishes of her late father. Alisha told the press that “When my father was alive he taught me how to drive the rickshaw. He wanted me to fulfill his dream of becoming a breadwinner in the family like a son would he wanted me to play this role to improve the financial situation in my family.”
She said that she started driving rikshaw at the cost of her studies after the demise of her father almost an year ago but she had to take care of her mother and sister.She told that they live in a two-room rented house along with unmarried sister and mother and rest of her for sisters are happily married. Alisha has a statement written on her rikshaw in memory of her late father “When the burden (of responsibilities) become unbearable to shoulders, I miss my baba dearly.” This untiring lady told that she could not continue her studies after 8th grade and had no source of earning other than few jobs in different factories offering very inadequate salaries. Alisha did not get taunts form relatives get in her way of providing for her family. She did not seek any help from any relative and rather decided to become the breadwinner of the family.
She told that she faces criticism from many of her relatives but chose to ignore them and keep focused on providing for her family. :I have the backing of my mother so I didn’t give up and I don’t care about anyone else.” She told that its difficult to search for good customers to she prefers to give rides to females and families for her own protection. Explaining about the hardships she faces on daily basis that if her rikhaw breaks she pushes it herself and takes it to mechanic to get it fixed. She told that her mother sends her off with lots of prayers which makes her rave and fearless. She said that major chunk of her income goes into getting petrol for her vehicle and condemned the hike in petrol prices by the government because most of her hardwork goes into buying petrol and she earns less as compared to her hardwork.
Alisha’s mother Salma also told in the interview that she fears for her daughter’s safety on daily basis. She even recalled that once her daughter had to park the rikshaw outside ranger’s post due to some people chasing her. She further added that she felt pride when her daughter bought her first earning at home and she sad that every daughter must support their families in such tough financial crisis.