KARACHI: A group of girls in one of the most deprived and conservative neighborhoods of Karachi are riding bicycles to empower women, according to Express News.
Lyari Girls’ Café, a local NGO, started the initiative for the local girls in the community to inspire them to achieve economic and social emancipation.
The initiative, however, has faced backlash from community members who are averse to the idea and have threatened members from riding bicycles in the area.
“Men ride bikes in Lyari and it’s a popular feature of the place’s culture which is how we became interested in it,” a burka clad member shared.
“An NGO facilitated us in fulfilling this interest of ours but despite facing staunch opposition, we still want to pursue our passion,” she added.
Lyari Girls Café — an educational refuge
Girls in burqas and scarves can be seen riding their bicycles in the neighbourhood.
“Now that girls have become pilots, firefighters and mountaineers, so we also want to fulfill our passion in Lyari,” she added.
“If people have a problem with us riding bicycles why don’t they limit themselves to their houses, no one can stop us from this activity,” she reaffirmed.
Urooj Basma, another member, said that she was riding her bicycle along with others on Mosque Road when residents came out told them to stay in their homes and bicycle riding is only for men.
Basma claimed that a few men pushed a girl, who was riding a bicycle on the road, as a result, she sustained injuries.
Cycling instructor Ramsha Raheen said that the moto behind Lyari Girls Café is to inspire girls to achieve economic emancipation.
Raheen said that a fortnight ago a group of girls cycling were confronted by local residents, who misbehaved with them.
“Some girls have been permitted by their fathers to be a part of the initiative, however their mothers are still rejecting the idea.
The girls pursue their interest from 4-6 pm in the evening every day.
Sultan Mandhro, the founder of Lyari Girls Café, said that the area is synonymous with sports and this initiative would provide a platform for girls’ cycling in the area as well.
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