Women on Wheels, a programme focused on resolving women’s mobility woes, is set to launch in Karachi later this month. The initiative by the Salman Sufi Foundation aims to provide training to 10,000 women by International Day for Women in March.
Chief Minister Sindh Murad Ali Shah and Aseefa Bhutto Zardari will inaugurate WOW Karachi on November 24 at the city's Frere Hall.
“This is a project to empower women which was the dream of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto,” Chief Minister Shah said during a briefing on the project, vowing to support the initiative.
Salman Sufi, who heads the project, had in 2016, launched a similar project with the Punjab government’s Strategic Reforms Unit. The Punjab project which began with just 40 women led to the training of 5,000 women in five districts of Punjab by the end of the campaign. Last year, over 700 women were also provided subsidised motorbikes under this initiative.
Sufi told Dawn.com that because of the project in Punjab women in the province have started driving motorbikes in villages, towns and cities.
"Our foundation aims to bring about the same change in Sindh,” he said, adding that the response in Karachi to his initiative was beyond his expectations.
“Within hours of announcing the initiative we had received 6,000 applications. And more are pouring in,” he said.
Telecom Engineer Soha Pervez has registered herself to be trained on how to drive a two-wheeler. She has also joined the project as an intern.
“Women who use public transport face harassment on a daily basis. That’s why I have joined this programme, so I can learn how to ride a bike and then commute independently,” she says.
Training sessions for WOW Karachi will commence on November 25 at the University of Karachi. The project aims to spread across Sindh, with training schedules for Hyderabad, Sukkur and Larkana to be announced in January 2020.
To register for trainings, women can contact the WOW campaign here. The information required to register for trainings includes participant’s name, CNIC #, a contact number, and an address.