Project Life On Wheels facilitates micro credit for rickshaw pullers plying in Delhi University, North Campus to enable them to purchase their own rickshaws, rather than hire them from exploitative contractors.
Rickshaw-pulling, a low-skill and zero investment profession, is a lucrative option for most illiterate migrants. But the real scenario is much more sinister than this glossy description. The rickshaws are hired from exploitative contractors at exorbitant rates, diminishing their already limited income. They also lack access to healthcare, education, collateral and social security. Caught in a vicious trap, the rickshaw pullers can never hope to own a rickshaw.
Goals and Objectives of Project Life On Wheels
// Augment incomes and prevent exploitation of rickshaw pullersRickshaw pullers are identified, bank accounts are opened and loans are sanctioned, using which rickshaw puller are able to purchase their own rickshaws. This prevents the exploitation they were earlier subjected to when they hired rickshaws from contractors.
// Provide rickshaw pullers access to healthcare, education and social securityVarious allied activities for the rickshaw-pullers and their families such as health check up camps are organised. Insurance and financial literacy training help rickshaw pullers manage finances and risk effectively.
// The Community and the Business Model
With our target community as the rickshaw pullers in North Campus, Delhi University, Life On Wheels was conceptualised in the year 2009. The project is a micro-finance credit model, designed to make the rickshaw pullers, the rightful owners of their rickshaws. We identify the rickshaw-pullers who fulfil basic bank requirements, open bank accounts and file an application for a loan. Once the loan is sanctioned, the rickshaw is purchased and disbursed, along with a pair of uniforms, an identity card, asset and life insurance. A field officer is also appointed who carries out weekly collection of the loan instalments from them.
Triple Bottom-Line Impact
// EconomicThe 85 Rickshaw Pullers impacted under Life On Wheels are now proud owners of their ‘own’ rickshaws, their self-respect being restored. They have benefitted by augmentation of income and stimulation of greater savings. Also, the space behind the rickshaw for advertisements provides additional revenue. The overall impact being of Rs. 32,40,000.
// SocialThe rickshaw pullers have also benefitted from the financial and literacy training, family health camps and distribution of educational kits to their children; hence, their quality of life has improved significantly.
// EnvironmentalThe custom made Enactus rickshaws have an extended shed that covers the passenger as well as the rickshaw-puller and a waste basket that helps promote a cleaner campus. Further, rickshaws are an environment friendly mode of transport.
// Our Vision
Our vision is to ensure that loans sanctioned are repaid. We envision the rickshaw puller community as a whole to become more economically independent and self sufficient and free themselves from any form of social exploitation.
The project has been successfully completed with an exceptional repayment rate of 86.68%.