Bangladesh Rickshaw Appeal 2015

Saturday, September 19th, 2015


The Rickshaw Men


It’s been an incredible week filled with opportunities for renewed hope in the local community. From access to free dental and health care at the shine clinic to a beautiful event this morning designed to provide opportunities to improve local rickshaw driver’s

In an event sponsored by Mohammad Ziad Hafiz, a generous benefactor with Mountain of Mercy who funded the event and came all the way out from London to participate in presenting 51 Rickshaws were presented to deserving local residents.


Imagine that you are a man with little or no education. You have a wife and a couple of kids and each day you go to work long, grueling hours to support that family, but never seem to get ahead. You having a physically exhausting job. Then imagine having to give up nearly half of your very meager income each month to pay for the equipment you need to do your

This is the plight of thousands of rickshaw drivers on the streets of Dhaka. For many Bangladeshi men, a lack of education severely limits their job options. The most available job for many of these men is Rickshaw wala (drivers).


Here’s how the system usually works. These men can’t afford to buy their own rickshaw, so they rent from rickshaw ‘companies’. They generally pay between 3,000 and 5,000 tk a month to use the rickshaw. The average monthly income for pullers is 6,500-12,000tk a month depending largely on how able they are to work longer hours. The job is grueling. I have seen drivers with as many as four people on their rickshaw at a time. What these numbers mean is that even if someone is a dynamo and manages to make 12,000tk a month, in reality he is making more like 8,000 after paying rent on his rickshaw. Do the conversion and that comes to about $102.80 a month.


This is where Shine comes in. Thanks to the efforts of Daniel, Emma, Asma and Sadia to name a few, Rickshaw wala are getting the break of a lifetime. At Thrive we bump into these busy folks a lot. We are all working to a common goal; to make the lives of families in the basti a little better. While Thrives focus is to provide nutritious food to children and teach hygiene, Shine strives to not only educate the children of the slums but to help their families as well. The children we feed are often the children of these rickshaw drivers and other low paid families.

Sadia Moyeen is on Thrives board of directors, but her philanthropic efforts don’t stop there. The Rickshaw project was designed to provide an opportunity for wala or “pullers” to become self-sufficient. Through an exhaustive vetting process, Daniel searches for honest men with a strong character. Men who take good care of their families and treat their wives well. He visits with family, friends and neighbors to ensure that the most deserving receive their help.


Through donations and fund raising (mostly donations), The Rickshaw Project buys used rickshaws and gifts them to these deserving souls. Even their licensing fees are paid by the project. This eliminates the need to pay rent. It’s inspirational what happens to a beaten man when he is given his own life. A used rickshaw costs 10,000 taka. Easy for many of us, but unattainable to others. When a driver has his own rickshaw it creates a sense of pride of ownership, independence and a burning desire to work even harder because he is invested.


The organization has discovered that once the drivers own their own rickshaws, their income increases often by a few thousand taka a month, not counting the 3,000-5,000 they are able to keep rather than pay rent.

As of today’s event, they have provided over 120 rickshaw to local drivers.


I am always in awe of what I see being accomplished by these dedicated people. Sometimes the plight of the people of Dhaka can feel insurmountable. If you look at too broad a picture of this vibrant city its chaos can drown you but these individuals that I am privileged to call my friends have a gift for focusing in on one issue at a time and saying “I can fix that”. And then they do.


Today 51 men have been given a greater means to provide for their families and with each of these big hearted people’s endeavors, Dhaka becomes a little big

'I wish I had the room to put pictures of each and every receiving his picture. You should have seen the smiles!'

On a side note, the next time you get in a rickshaw, remind yourself that the difference between 50 or 100 taka for a rickshaw ride is probably insignificant to you but a pretty big deal to your driver.

 

 

 


 

 

UK Team

Mohamed Ziad Hafiz (London)
Nafisa Hafiz (Heston)
Faruk Abdullah (North West)
Aqeela Darwan (North West)
Sabiha Valli (North West)
Shenaz Suleman, Events Co-ordinater (Leicester)
Mohamed Suleman (Leicester)
Fazila Poptani (Leicester)
Hafiz Muhammad Umair Vohra (Croydon)
Farzana Zakir Juma (Leicester)
Emrana Ali (Peterborough)

 

Sri-Lanka Team and Kenya Team

Mohamed Oun Ali (Project Manager Sri Lanka)
Mehraj Dhilruwan Sally
Rinaaz Dhilshan Sariffodeen
Tuan Hilary Ahmadeen


Kenya team

Dr Imran Elias (Kenya - Mombasa)
Yasmin Elias   (Kenya - Mombasa)
Leila Rashid    (Kenya - Mombasa) 

Mountain of Mercy

93 Waltham Avenue, Middlesex
Hayes, United Kingdom UB3 1TD

Registered Charity No. 1110463

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