Madhesi woman drives auto rickshaw for livelihood in JanakpurThere were days when Madhesi women in Janakpur were mostly confined to their homes, limiting themselves to doing household chores like cooking, doing the dishes and washing clothes. This was what a routine day was like for them—the cycle repeating itself day in and day out.
There were days when Madhesi women in Janakpur were mostly confined to their homes, limiting themselves to doing household chores like cooking, doing the dishes and washing clothes. This was what a routine day was like for them—the cycle repeating itself day in and day out.
But today things have changed.
These days, Madhesi women, in the capital of Province 2, have taken the wheel and are in charge of their own lives, driving auto rickshaws to make a living. Women, who a few months ago were financially dependent on their husbands, now earn for themselves—and for their family.
“How long should I depend on my husband’s income? I started driving auto rickshaw because I want to live on my own income,” said 26-year old Sarita Kumari Sahani, a resident of Kuwa settlement in Janakpur Submetropolis-10. She said she started working as an auto rickshaw driver a year ago after receiving a month-long training. “I earn 500 to 1,000 every day, after separating the Rs500 I owe to the rickshaw’s owner daily for hiring his vehicle,” she added.
Like many Madhesi women Sahani, a mother of a three-year-old girl, got married at a very young age. Sahani is neither an educated woman nor from a well-off family. Her husband is also a daily wage worker. According to her, she has been managing household expenses now with the money she earns from driving. She said that she is motivated to work harder, as the job ensures her independence.
With an objective to empower women by enhancing their earnings, a non-governmental organisation, last year, provided training to drive auto rickshaws to six women in the community. Sahani was one among those training recipients. She is the only training recipient who drives auto rickshaw on a regular basis currently.
“Only the women from well-off families are educated in the area. Women from impoverished communities are deprived of education and employment. The involvement of Madhesi women—who are traditionally deprived of education, health and employment—in various income generating activities is a very positive initiation,” said Sanjaya Mishra, of Janakpur-5.