Women carrying passengers on rickshaws on the streets of Janakpur is still a scene many find hard to believe. However, in the midst of about 1,200 male rickshaw drivers, one female figure can be glimpsed — Lilawati Ram.
This former migrant laborer is now the first female rickshaw driver in her city. With the turn of her ignition key, she sets an unprecedented moment for women in Nepal.
Behind this journey is the fueling ambition to provide for her son. When a group of Nepalese people living in Hong Kong helped fund Lilawati’s three-wheelers, she took five days of driving lessons and was soon on her way.
Initially, people looked at her strangely and teased her for “driving a vehicle”.
Fortunately, male rickshaw drivers have gradually become a source of encouragement, advocating for better treatment of female drivers and urging the government to “show more concern”.
Now, Lilawati goes to the major tourist spots in Janakpur, customers have commended her for “working hard and charging fair prices”. The job has provided her the chance to educate her son and live a better life.
However, her journey won’t stop here as she is determined to achieve more with her rickshaw. She said: “I want to do more things with this auto. I want to do things which will inspire other people.”