'Ummeed ki rickshaw'- An attempt to empower women

Aiming at empowering economically backward women, two NGOs today joined hands to provide them with environment-friendly electric rickshaws that will help earn a living with dignity.

Named 'Ummeed ki Rickshaw (rickshaw of hope)' by its organisers Ummeed and Cequin (Centre for Equality and Inclusion), the project was launched by Union New and Renewable Energy Minister Farooq Abdullah here.

The programme, the organisers felt, will enable women to drive smart and earn a living with dignity and respect. The NGOs will provide and maintain the rickshaws and train the women to run it.

Presenting the keys of the electric rickshaw to its first recipient Kohinoor, Abdullah said, "Women today need to be trained in various employable skills as it is difficult to run a family on one person's salary in this age of rising prices."

Unless women are not provided skill-based training, they will remain where they are and their economic emancipation would be hindered, he said.

"Today we've begun with one rickshaw and we will multiply our efforts to increase the supply of these rickshaws to those women who require it," the minister said.

Kohinoor, who used to work as children's caretaker in a school, said, "I am happy and hopeful that this rickshaw will double my income and assist in facilitating my children's studies."

The brainchild behind this programme is Ummeed founder 16-year-old Avani Singh.

Singh, a student of Modern School, said, "Three to four months back when I saw men driving these rickshaws in Saket area, I thought the three-wheelers would be of great help to women. The immediate idea that struck my mind was women can earn a living by driving these vehicles."

She said, "We have begin this programme in Jamia area and will expand it to other areas. We are hoping for corporate sponsorship to fund this programme."

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