Jasmine’s husband, Mosammat (45) abandoned her for another woman, leaving her to fend for herself and her three kids. She resorted to working as a domestic help and then as a garment factory worker.
However, the jobs weren’t satisfying her. She told to The Hindu, “A maid’s job is good if you only have to worry about yourself but not if you’ve got children. And the factory work is really back-breaking and the pay is really poor.”
Once her neighbour lent her a rickshaw for some days. Thereafter, Jasmine decided to earn her bread through rickshaw pulling in Chittagong where she stays. Her rather unusual career option, given that she is a woman, she was called “Crazy Auntie” by her pessangers.
She told The Hindu, “I do it to make sure my sons don’t go hungry and they get a decent education at a good school.”
However, initially she got a lot of taunts from people. She added, “Initially, many simply refused to get on board and some taunted me, saying I was doing a man’s job.”
Some people even tried to teach her unsolicited Islamic lessons against her occupation. Moreover, they contributed to gender inequality by denying her “the same fare as a male driver.”
Being a strong woman, Jasmine does not let people’s shrewdness affect her in any way. She says, “Allah has given me a pair of hands and legs to work with. I don’t beg — instead I earn a living by using his gifts.”
“I stuck to my guns as who else pays my bills, who is else is going to cover the cost of educating my sons?” she added while asserting how determined she is for her work.
Well, her dedication has led to her acceptance among her counterparts and passengers. Jasmine makes 600 taka per day on an average.