Wajiha, the rickshaw driver

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.

 

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.

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Comments (47) Closed

Indian
Oct 28, 2011 12:56pm
Heart wrenching story about Wajiha. She shines as a lone star in the areas controlled by Taliban. Lets hope she finishes her schooling and graduation. All this will happen only if the Taliban is destroyed completely.
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Salim
Oct 28, 2011 01:12pm
She deserves respect. Hats Off to her.
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ahmed
Oct 28, 2011 01:17pm
where are the awam kay khidmatgars... no words. O ALLAH please help the innocent Pakistanis....
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Salar Mainwand
Oct 28, 2011 02:22pm
I have no words to express my grief and at the same time the deep admiration and respect that i have for this little soul and her family. I am also thankful to Dawn for taking up such heroic stories.
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SMTS
Oct 28, 2011 02:27pm
Any contact information for her family? how can one help?
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Suhaib
Oct 28, 2011 03:01pm
Drone Attacks killing thousands of innocent people till now. Such article on their children should also be produced to give complete picture of the "war on terror".
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James
Oct 28, 2011 03:09pm
How can an 11 year old be allowed to not only use the motor vehicle but also carry passengers? Has anyone thought about that? Or will people ask that after an accident ?
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Ateeq Khaliq
Oct 28, 2011 03:23pm
I hope her future will be better than her present. Great Girl, you made your family proud...Keep going.May god bless and always keep you in his folds.
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Ateeq Khaliq
Oct 28, 2011 03:27pm
James@..Its the place where no law can be enforced completely. If she can't work may be she can't afford the other things.. more of all she is helping her disabled father. Accidents! Dude , it already happened to her and her family...what more can happen to child if its childhood is been taken away? it will be worst than an accident. give it a thought.
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shazad
Oct 28, 2011 03:28pm
beatiful mind.
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Ali
Oct 28, 2011 05:02pm
Dawn - Please provide a way I can help. I am greatful to you for highlighting this, but it would be even better if we can help these people.Thanks!
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Asif
Oct 28, 2011 05:11pm
Please let me know how I can help the family.
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Shahid
Oct 28, 2011 06:01pm
One day inshallah soon enemies of people of Pakistan will give up and we shall survive. We are tough, the enemies shall perish, Allah willing. The kid and her father are brave, may Almighty help them.
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Hindu
Oct 28, 2011 06:21pm
No child should have to work. Thanks for highlighting her case. Please indicate a link on your newspaper where readers like me can donate and help her family. Thanks.
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Sania
Oct 28, 2011 06:57pm
A very heartbreaking story. This could have been me. Please let me know if there is a way out to help this young child and her family! Thank you in advance!
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Rak
Oct 28, 2011 07:06pm
Please keep on highlighting stories like this and also provide information how can people help these families. I would like to know how to help her.
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Ali Zeeshan
Oct 28, 2011 07:47pm
deeply saddening, yet motivating story...may be thats the reason why we as a nation are where we are right now!....anyways is there any way to help her family? I would be more than willing to contribute (what ever I can).
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Khan
Oct 28, 2011 08:04pm
There are many charities in Pakistan but not a single for those who sacrificed their lives for our peace due to this war. In England, there is team of 50 disabled former British Soldiers who make Poppy flowers all year which are sold on Remembrance Day in November each year .. Almost every one wear them and the money it generate is used to support those Soldiers and their families who were affected due to wars since WWI. Sure we can have such event every year just like the rest of the world, even a 1 Rs per flower will generate enough to support these families all year round. Its their debt on the rest of the nation. I hope to meet this gentleman when I am back in Pakistan next month.
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gv
Oct 28, 2011 09:02pm
Dawn should set up a fund so that readers can donate to cases like this going forward.
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Mohdudul Huq
Oct 28, 2011 09:05pm
People and government should come forward to help this family. Ameen
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Zeeshan
Oct 28, 2011 09:05pm
That's the whole point James......an 11 year old is so desperate she has no choice left. the Us operations need to stop, they are the cause for such tragedies.
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Ikramuddin Akbar
Oct 28, 2011 09:15pm
I second james in your opinion, this little girl's determination to help her family and love for her father is beyond any doubt ,its called uncommon courage,but we must realize that she is naive and most of the passengers are not. My suggestion to this family is that the members of their " muhalla" should contribute to hire a man for this work ,any thing can be done for the safety of this girl. I dont want to explain here every thing about the prevailing circumstances in our country.
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Sajjad
Oct 28, 2011 09:52pm
I have no words to express my grief
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asma
Oct 28, 2011 11:41pm
Please let me know if there is any way that I can help that girl . her telephone number or contact number ?
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Rahman
Oct 29, 2011 12:32am
I appreciate that you published this story of a brave girl. I want to help the family financially. Please let me know the contact info for the family.
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Riaz
Oct 29, 2011 01:09am
This hurts seeing a young innocent girl put into such harsh hardship. This young lady is brave, look into her eyes , she can be a doctor, an engineer or a very successful professional . I am certain she has a heart and a courage to be a very productive member of our society. Please let me know how can I help her to achieve her dreams while living abroad.
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Sikendar
Oct 29, 2011 03:15am
May Allah bless her and her family. Ameen Please let us know how we can help the family
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Saeeda
Oct 29, 2011 03:22am
Wajiha is a brave and resourceful girl. Please keep printing photos/stories such as these. Even as the world media presents Pakistan in a monolithic way, Wajiha shows the courage with which ordinary Pakistanis try to make the best of bad circumstances. One of Pakistan's greatest riches is the extraordinary strength and courage of her women. Kudos!
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naeem khan kansas.US
Oct 29, 2011 03:49am
Although there is no harm in driving motorized rickshaw or any other machine by any girl but circumstances are different here, she is doing it to help out her family's income.It is a reflection on Pakistan's elite as well as on the whole society.Where is the safety net for those who has served the country and gave sacrifices of life and limbs.It is a shameful situation in Pakistan where some people who has looted the treasury for millions and millions are Scot free. God help this country.
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Rakeeb
Oct 29, 2011 05:10am
Instead of putting in words of praise for that brave little girl, you are trying to grind your own axe.
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Rakeeb
Oct 29, 2011 05:16am
What a tremendous and heart wrenching story of great courage by this 11 year old. Pak gov should give her a scholarship to attend school full time. At the same time her story of courage should be projected in the community as a role model, specially for young girls.
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Shafi Ansari
Oct 29, 2011 05:44am
Please provide details as how help can be provided to this brave family. May Allah help them with all his bounties. Ameen.
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mohammad
Oct 29, 2011 06:44am
brave girl. how can we help. guide.
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Ali Syed
Oct 29, 2011 08:55am
May Allah bless this child and her family with health, wealth and happiness ameen.
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Nawaz Ansari
Oct 29, 2011 09:20am
Our two daughters eleven and nine wont to donate their monthly allowance of $100,00/month to the benefit of Wajiha for as long as she needs it, and as responsible parents my wife and I not only promise to throw our weight behind our daughters but also pledge to continue our support to this brave child for as long as she needs it in case children decide to discontinue their pledge. P.S. Great job please keep up the good work, I strongly believe that together we can change Pakistan. Best Regards Nawaz Ansari
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jag
Oct 29, 2011 09:48am
Come-On Girl. That's the way to go.Never sigh away from from what you can do.I am sure your dad is proud of you and that is what matters.I love it. jag
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fasihuddins
Oct 29, 2011 10:15am
Very tough she is, May her childhood dreams outlive her sufferings, insha'Allah. any way my family can help hers???
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Ebrahim
Oct 29, 2011 11:22am
Would like to know how we can help this family financially while living abroad please post a link or have a bank account opened for her where people like me can direct deposit funds Thank you
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Ahmad Naveed
Oct 29, 2011 11:30am
very brave girl my Allah give her more courage.
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V K Bajaj (Delhi)
Oct 29, 2011 01:46pm
A multi-dimensional news or reporting: a) A girl of 11 has to earn and is livelihood for her family. A great lesson to those families who wish and prefer to have son. Girls are now smarter than Boys. b) At 11 she is driving - and driving without any driving licence. Though she is driving under the enforcing conditions then who is to blame in case of happening - She herself or parents or society or Govt? c) At 11 she is earning so be taken as a brilliant child. Now what about her primary education? Will she study or continue to earn for family? Govt as well as Civic Societies (NGO) are to be blamed. d) Given a chance to her she could be a best SPORTSPERSON in Hockey or Cricket or Tennis or Squash etc. etc. All should know it from her muscle power. Will Govt and/or Civic Societies will explore her abilities for a maximum benefit to the Nation. e) DAWN has done a commendable job by highlighting the plight of a common family ironically have posed question to Govt and NGOs. f) But DAWN should have guided as how to help this family. g) My Best Wishes for Wajiha and I request any body to guide me as how I can help her while I am in Delhi.
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Aumba
Oct 30, 2011 04:08am
There are two heart breaking stories in today's paper. A 7 year old working for 300 rupees a moth in hotel and Wajiaha 11 year driving ricksha to support her family. Being a Pakistani I want to say a lot about our rulers/leaders of country. I am trying to contol my emotions. Please kindly send me contact informations about 7 year old boy and 11 years old Wajiaha at my email. I want to help both families. Thanks.
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Shoaib
Oct 30, 2011 09:34am
Dear Editor, Thats a good example of this courageous positive nation. I want to help this family. kindly send their details so i can try helping myslef & thru circle of friends. For Mr. JAMES, you have no idea what we as a nation going through but you and other WESTERN people just keep talking demanding. my answer to you: MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS OK. Shoaib A proud Pakistani
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mehrban
Oct 31, 2011 09:11pm
Hi, I am very proud to see wajiha helping her family out. I understand she is young but I would encourage more women to do odd jobs like these to support their families. We should not have shame or feel lower in anyway working as women to support our families. The women and girls working abroad are doing all sorts of jobs such as waiters, cleaners, taxi drivers, buss drivers, train drivers, construction workers,clothing sales and etc and studying at the same time. They are respected as much as a billionaire owner of a company. There are more women in our country then men and they should be encouraged even if they think they are good in fixing cars or changing the bulbs! I my self have done these odd jobs and my masters together from abroad and I had never felt less superior to men at many instances!
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Osama Rind
Nov 01, 2011 11:24pm
I am really very glad to see wajiha helping her father and supoorting her family. i suggest she should keep going. And i think no work is big or small only the thing matters is, how we percieve something. i am proud of her. we as a society should support her enthusiasim for her family and work.
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Usman
Nov 02, 2011 04:19pm
Well what i think is its amazing.. well if Wajiha's dad can get some kinda job, which he can do easily without any pain, than he should go for that.
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Maria
Nov 02, 2011 04:51pm
The actions of wajiha give us a whole perspective of what we ought to do as a nation ... she didn't wait for any US aid or for government support ... she started helping her father in whatever capacity she could ... may Allah bless her and makes life easy for her ameen ...
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Shairyar
Nov 04, 2011 06:13pm
Hats off to her
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