The Rickshaw Project is one of the ventures of the Network of Organisations Working for People with Disabilities, Pakistan (NOWPDP).
People with disabilities (PWDs) are often viewed as a burden, and while most people want to help, many do not want to be directly involved.
Launched in 2012, The Rickshaw Project was born as a solution for creating employment opportunities for PWDs and help establish a platform through which the unequal treatment and negative social perceptions of PWDs can be challenged and ultimately changed.
With support, and contributions, the project now has four rickshaws, which the team aims to equip with GPS trackers; and three trained drivers who are certified to drive various retrofitted vehicles.
The rickshaws are retrofitted for accessibility, and are completely hand-controlled.
The project is a user-friendly, rickshaw-to-your-doorstep service, where customers can call at their call centre to place an order, and a rickshaw will pick them up from their desired location.
Furthermore, the project team has also started sensitisation training sessions at various workplaces in order to create awareness and make people realise the importance of integrating PWDs into their spaces.
Speaking to Dawn, Project Manager (and South Asia's first visually impaired psychologist), Zulqurnain Asghar explains the main working areas of the project, while PWD drivers Imran and Siraj talk about the functionality of the retrofitted rickshaws and their personal experiences.