Sixty-year-old Ayesha Begum is a woman who tried her hand in several professions from being a domestic maid to working in a ready-made garment factory.
But neither those jobs could meet her basic needs nor could offer her desired freedom. Finally, she found solace when she chose to work as a rickshaw mechanic.Ayesha has been repairing rickshaws and bicycles beside Shaheed Minar road on Dhaka University campus for the last ten years. Now she is known as an efficient mechanic to the local rickshaw pullers and cyclists.
Ayesha Begum said, “After attempting in several fields I thought of working as a rickshaw mechanic. Therefore, I started assisting in workshops on daily payment basis to learn how to repair rickshaws and bicycles.”
“When I realised that now I can work on my own initiative I began repairing rickshaws and bicycles on footpath. On Dhaka University campus, people are liberal and supportive. And the biggest thing is I don’t need to pay for my shop here,” she added.
However, initially, she had to face a lot of problems as people were not used to seeing a woman in such a profession. Ayesha stated, “In the beginning many raised their eyebrows and I didn’t get much work as people couldn’t rely on a woman rickshaw mechanic. But gradually, I gained their trust through my work.”
In a densely populated city where thousands of people have taken begging as their profession, being an elderly woman she has become a symbol of self-reliance.
Spirited Ayesha said, “Allah has given me a pair of hands and legs to work with. I do it to make sure that my family members don’t go hungry, and get a decent life.”When asked if you are happy with your profession, she replied, “I am leading my life on my own terms.”
While answering the last question Ayesha Begum’s smiling face was glittering with joy. She is a true inspiration for all freedom-loving women.