Actors Hania Aamir and Farhan Saeed have shared the tragic yet empowering story of Karachi’s ‘Iron Lady’ in an attempt to laud women who take up ‘odd jobs’, or professions helmed by men, to make ends meet.
A video of Jameela Khatoon, who fixes motorcycles to ‘make an honest living’, went viral on social media after a local news outlet put the spotlight on her story. In this video, Jameela narrates how she does not have any male family members to rely on, since her husband died of cancer and her adopted son also passed away during dialysis.
She reveals how she then, took control of her husband’s business 35-years-ago, to provide food, clothing and shelter for her daughters. Previously, she also delivered newspapers door-to-door. And now, she has requested the government to either provide her a loan or a shop, so she could run her affairs in a secure environment. “I don’t even want a big shop, a small shop where I can fix punctures, sell spare parts or change oil would suffice,” she pleads in the video message.
Re-tweeting this clip, Aamir wrote, “All heroes don't wear capes, some mend flat tyres.” The Ishqiya star continued, “More power to you, Jameela Khatoon – you are simply inspirational!”
Singer and actor Saeed also praised Jameela's ‘incredible’ display of “courage and unmatched determination in the face personal loss.” He reiterated Aamir’s sentiments tweeting, “More power to you, Jameela Khatoon – you are an inspiration.”
Jameela has set up a small stand near the Lakhpati Hotel in Karachi’s Ranchore Line. In the clip, she relays how her business is the only living memory of her deceased husband. Working as a newspaper hawker, she would travel from her residence to New Chali to collect newspapers at 4:00am in the morning and deliver them until 8:00am. Now, she starts her work around 11:00am and there is no designated time for it to end. “Some days I finish around 9pm, other days around midnight,” she laments in the clip.
Netizens had also shared her story in an attempt to amplify her voice so the government could take notice of her plight. So far, no department or official has responded to her plea.
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