Arab Shah, a rickshaw driver from Peshawar, is enabling many schoolgirls to get an education and pursue their dreams. He has been providing free pick and drop services to these girls for six years now and aspires to do so as long as he can.
Shah's sisters were unable to pursue an education due to the challenges of transportation, amongst others. Being the younger brother, he couldn't do anything to help them choose education in the face of constraints, but he decided that he would make a difference in the lives of other girls. “The education in the government schools is free and so is the supply of books and stationery. The only barrier that prevents girls from pursuing education is commutation. Their parents cannot afford a pick and drop for them, and thus, they are discouraged from going to school. "All these stories, including my sisters, motivated me to go out of my way to be an enabler of their education."
Shah’s usual days start at 6.30 am (Pakistan time) when he picks up girls in his rickshaw and drives them to their schools 3-5 km away and continues to do so till 9 am. To bring the girls to school, he said, he has to make several trips in the morning and the afternoon, which consumes considerable time, fuel and leads to a loss of revenue. In the remaining time after his welfare duties, he drives rickshaw to earn his living till 10 pm in the night.
Currently, 100+ girls are able to attend schools every day, with Shah making 20 pick and drop shifts every day without even charging a penny from the girl's family. He is often called ‘Bhai jaan (dear brother) by the schoolgirls due to his generosity and trustworthiness.
Read more about the work UN Women Pakistan is doing here.