In Dhangadhi, women auto drivers are gaining financial independenceIndra Chaudhary, 21, wanted to complete her bachelor’s degree at Kailali Multiple Campus before seeking a job to make a living. However, poor financial conditions in the home front had her looking for income-generating options earlier than she had anticipated.
Indra Chaudhary, 21, wanted to complete her bachelor’s degree at Kailali Multiple Campus before seeking a job to make a living. However, poor financial conditions in the home front had her looking for income-generating options earlier than she had anticipated.
“We lost our father when I was young. Although it hasn’t been easy, our mother has so far looked after us all. However, a family cannot depend solely on one member to make ends meet and that is why I decided to drive an auto rickshaw to help my family,” said Indra, adding that her three younger brothers and a sister are studying at a local school.
According to Indra, her mother wanted her to “work in an office” behind a desk like other “educated” women. “I started to look for jobs after I passed my plus two level, but I couldn’t find one. I applied to a lot of vacancies but wasn’t accepted,” said Indra, adding that she didn’t have the “sources” to hook her up with a job.
Looking for alternatives, Indra found herself seeking her brother-in-law’s advice. He was the one who suggested Indra buy an auto rickshaw and earn some money. “I had seen some women driving auto rickshaws in the bazaar area. I was impressed by these women and with the help of my brother-in-law I took Rs 150,000 loan from Everest Bank and purchased an auto rickshaw in January this year,” she said. This line of employment, or rather a business venture, has helped many women like Indra gain economic independence. Today Dhangadi hosts quite the number of women auto rickshaw drivers. “I earn Rs 1,000 every day even if I drive my auto rickshaw only during the day,” said Ranga Paudyal of Behadi in Dhangadhi, informing that she hits the road once she’s done with her morning chores at home, feeding and sending her children to school.
Archana Kunwar, also an auto rickshaw driver in Doke Bazaar, said that she feels empowered to be able to drive an auto rickshaw and make a living out of it. “My husband is also an auto rickshaw driver. He was the one who motivated me to drive auto rickshaw. We now manage our household expenses with the money we both earn,” said Kunwar.