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Social Change Partner: WakeupKid

WakeupKid is an initiative undertaken by two college-going students, Ishan Jhunjhunwala and Divyanshu Damani. Wake Up Kid is an initiative undertaken to empower the people, especially the youth, about the various pertinent issues of society. Through the power of social media, Wake Up Kid aims to make a difference in society. The major objective is to bring about a change in the mind sets and attitudes of the people, along with tangible and physical change. It aims towards addressing issues at the micro level in order to bring about change on a larger scale. We wish to get rid of the “laid-back attitude” and also urge everyone to stop complaining and start acting.

One of the major projects WakeupKid has undertaken, in order to achieve its objective of social change, is the Hand Pulled Rickshaw project. The hand-pulled rickshaws on the streets of Kolkata not only paint a rather antediluvian image of the city, but also highlight how a malnourished man pulling a vehicle is an inhumane and sadistic practice that has been prevalent in the city for centuries. The ban on hand-pulled rickshaws that was imposed in 2006 has been hardly effective as 2,000 people still earn their livelihoods by pulling these hand-pulled rickshaws. We, at Wake up Kid, aim to employ this ban more stringently since we believe that it is time to bring an end to this inhumane practice. However, simply banning hand-pulled rickshaws is not our sole objective; providing the rickshaw pullers with alternative means of employment is an important point that needs to be focused upon. Addressing the problem and also coming up with a number of solutions is the best way to tackle this issue.

Our aim and idea is simple- effectively implementing the ban on hand-pulled rickshaws. However, the question that is then raised is how will the problem of unemployment be solved? Well, we propose a replacement of hand-pulled rickshaws with cycle rickshaws. These are not only a safer form of transport but also require less human effort and time.

According to our research and survey, majority of the rickshaw pullers have been in this profession for more than 10 years, showing that they never tried an alternate profession. Most workers earn between4000-6000 and have to sustain at least 5-8 dependent members in their families. They are not particularly fond of their job and are aware of the ban; however, due to lack of alternatives, they do not have much choice. When our team members spoke to a few families of these workers, they realized that the children are next in line to inherit their “family business”.

To stop the next generation from suffering the same fate as their fathers, WakeupKid decided to take up the Rickshaw project and provide these workers a better and more sustainable source of livelihood.

We aim to make the rickshaw pullers’ standard of living better in the following ways:

Although the ban on hand pulled rickshaws was imposed by former chief minister of West Bengal, Mr. Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, majority of the people are unaware about this ban. To carry out this project successfully, the first step is imposing the ban more stringently.

Another important point is to provide the rickshaw pullers with alternative means of employment in the form of e-rickshaws or cycle rickshaws. Through means of fund raising, we wish to raise money to provide alternatives to the rickshaw pullers.

WakeupKid aims to achieve its objective of bringing about radical social change through this project.

We would be very grateful if you help us to reach out to as many people as possible by sharing our video. You can also sign this petition to do your bit:http://wakeupkid.in/petition-new/<

Thank you for your support. We look forward to your response.

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