Wajiha, the rickshaw driver

Published October 28, 2011
11-year-old Pakistani girl Wajiha drives a three-wheel rickshaw in Tangi, a town 125 kilometres from Islamabad, in the heart of the northwestern region troubled by a Taliban insurgency. Wajiha is the only girl driving a rickshaw to earn livelihood for her family.
11-year-old Pakistani girl Wajiha drives a three-wheel rickshaw in Tangi, a town 125 kilometres from Islamabad, in the heart of the northwestern region troubled by a Taliban insurgency. Wajiha is the only girl driving a rickshaw to earn livelihood for her family.
Inamuddin, father of 11-year-old Pakistani girl Wajiha, becoming emotional as he talks to AFP during an interview outside his house in Tangi. He used to be a proud member of the paramilitary and was badly injured in a Taliban attack on a paramilitary check post in the northwestern valley of Swat in July 2006.
Inamuddin, father of 11-year-old Pakistani girl Wajiha, becoming emotional as he talks to AFP during an interview outside his house in Tangi. He used to be a proud member of the paramilitary and was badly injured in a Taliban attack on a paramilitary check post in the northwestern valley of Swat in July 2006.
Now she goes to school in the morning and helps her father in the afternoon, when he gets tired.
Now she goes to school in the morning and helps her father in the afternoon, when he gets tired.
“I don’t like my daughter going out to work, but I am helpless,” said Inamuddin, showing his wounded leg.
“I don’t like my daughter going out to work, but I am helpless,” said Inamuddin, showing his wounded leg.
Wajiha weeps as she talks to AFP during an interview outside her house in Tangi.
Wajiha weeps as she talks to AFP during an interview outside her house in Tangi.
Inamuddin, showing his other wound on his stomach.
Inamuddin, showing his other wound on his stomach.

In Tangi, a town some 125 kilometres from the capital Islamabad, in the heart of the northwestern region troubled by a Taliban insurgency, 11-year-old Wajiha is the only girl driving a motorcycle rickshaw.

Her father Inamuddin used to be a proud member of the paramilitary but in July 2006 he was badly injured in a Taliban attack on his paramilitary check post in the northwestern valley of Swat.

After two years in hospital, he was discharged from service with a withered leg and bought a rickshaw for 40,000 rupees ($465) with his pension. At first he worked alone, and sometimes Wajiha would sit up front with him for fun. But when she realised how painful he found his wounded leg, she took on solo shifts to earn more money.

Now she goes to school in the morning and helps her father in the afternoon, when he gets tired.

“I don’t like my daughter going out to work, but I am helpless,” said Inamuddin. Wajiha said she likes to help.

“I feel good to help my father, I also enjoy the drive, it is easy to drive motorcycle rickshaw and earn some money for the family,” she said.

“I make 150 rupees ($1.70) from three trips a day,” she said as she parked the rickshaw and ran into her home - text and photos by AFP.

Read more about the effect of bombings on children here.

 

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