Lyari Girls Café takes the fight to the streets

Bicycling race held to create awareness about pollution


Our Correspondent March 26, 2018
The café has a shortage of bicycles because more girls expressed interest in learning how to bicycle than they anticipated. PHOTO: COURTESY SULTAN MANDHRO

KARACHI: The Lyari Girls Café, a vocational training institute that has been promoting girls' bicycling in Lyari, organised on Sunday morning its first girls' bicycling race with the slogan of 'pollution free Karachi' in an area once notorious for gang warfare.

As many as 21 girls aged between seven and 25 participated in the race. The winner was 12-year-old Urooj Bisma.

German Consul-General Rainer Schmiedchen also participated in the race and encouraged the girl bicyclists. He visited the café and discussed women empowerment with the members. Schmiedchen also distributed gifts amongst the kids along with his team.

German Consul-General Rainer Schmiedchen also participated in the race. PHOTO: COURTESY SULTAN MANDHRO German Consul-General Rainer Schmiedchen also participated in the race. PHOTO: COURTESY SULTAN MANDHRO

The race was organised on the newly renovated Mirza Adam Khan Road near the Lyari Expressway. Many people, including the bicyclists' families, witnessed the event and cheered on the participants.

"We have been waiting for this day for a long time," said visibly excited Rimsha Raheen, the bicyclists' coach. "It was a challenge for all of us to prove how very powerful the girls of Lyari truly are but we finally did it," she said.

Lyari Girls Café — an educational refuge

The coach informed the German consul-general that girls' bicycling was started in Lyari in the first week of February this year in a narrow street of Bihar Colony. "The pace was slow but everyone was committed," she said, adding that the café would soon arrange another race - this time it would be outside Lyari, in Clifton.

The race was organised on the newly renovated Mirza Adam Khan Road near the Lyari Expressway. PHOTO: COURTESY SULTAN MANDHRO The race was organised on the newly renovated Mirza Adam Khan Road near the Lyari Expressway. PHOTO: COURTESY SULTAN MANDHRO

Sehrish, a member of the café, said the objective of the race was to create awareness about pollution. "We want to tell our brothers to use bicycles so dependency on fuel can be reduced," she added.

We do not have enough bicycles as the number of girls is increasing day by day, Sehrish explained. Most of the girls wanted to learn how to ride a bicycle for their personal use, she said, adding that many older girls were also showing interest in bicycling. "We were not expecting this kind of interest [in bicycling] among females in Lyari."

Interacting with the café's girls, the German consul-general said he tried to leave the consulate so he could meet the people of Karachi. He said he was happy to interact with the people of Lyari, especially the members of the Lyari Girls Café.

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