45-year-old Mosammat Jasmine’s husband abandoned her for another woman, leaving her to fend for herself and her three children. She resorted to working as a domestic maid and then as a garment factory worker.
However, the jobs weren’t satiating enough. “A maid’s job is good if you only have to worry about yourself but not if you’ve got children. And the factory work is really back-breaking and the pay is really poor,” she told The Hindu.
Once her neighbour lent her a rickshaw for some days. Thereafter, Jasmine decided to earn her bread through rickshaw pulling in Chittagong where she resides. Her rather unusual career option, given that she is a woman, earned her the sobriquet “Crazy Auntie” from her passengers.
She told The Hindu, “I do it to make sure my sons don’t go hungry and they get a decent education at a good school.”
However, people taunted her, in the beginning. “Initially, many simply refused to get on board and some taunted me, saying I was doing a man’s job,” she said.
Some people even tried to teach her unsolicited Islamic lessons against her occupation. Moreover, they contributed to gender inequality by denying her “the same fare as a male driver.”
But strong-headed as she is, Jasmine does not let people’s judgments affect her. She says, “Allah has given me a pair of hands and legs to work with. I don’t beg — instead I earn a living by using his gifts.”
“I stuck to my guns as who else pays my bills, who is else is going to cover the cost of educating my sons?” she added while assserting how determined she is on her path.
Well, her determination has led to her acceptance among her counterparts and passengers. An eight hour shift fetches Jasmine 600 taka, on an average, daily.
News Source: The Hindu