Reducing air pollution and supporting the socioeconomic empowerment of women through training and job opportunities are both central to the eradication of poverty.
Through its Female Electric Rickshaw Driver program, Karuna-Shechen provides disadvantaged Indian women with the skills and the means they need to work as e-rickshaw taxi drivers in Bodhgaya, India.
After a rigorous selection process, we train the participants for up to two months to become proficient and confident drivers. Once they graduate, we provide each woman with an electric rickshaw and subsidize 50% of its cost. Our trainees reimburse the remaining half over six months (100 rupees/day) from their newly acquired income (up to 600 rupees a day during peak pilgrim season) .
Bodhgaya, which has expanded rapidly as a major Buddhist sacred site with hundreds of thousands of visitors yearly, is experiencing growing noise and air pollution. By subsidizing electric rickshaws, we are promoting an environmentally friendly solution that does not contribute to climate change or health hazards.
We are also contributing to the socioeconomic empowerment of women and promoting gender-equality by training them in a profession that is largely regarded as male-specific in India.
In 2015, this program was extended to the neighboring state of Jharkhand.