Everything you need to know about Roshni Rides

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    What is Roshni Rides?

    Roshni Rides is the idea of four Pakistan-American students to provide a transportation network solution for refugees residing in the densely populated urban regions in South Asian. The affordable transportation project aims to fight the transportation crisis faced by refugees. The system is like the New York City subway system, passengers pay fixed share using pre-loaded cards. This rickshaw shuttle service would allow refugees to travel to schools and other areas with dignity. There are over 200 million urbanized refugees in South Asia who find it hard to access sources and avail opportunities in order to rebuild their lives. Roshni Rides provide ride-sharing rickshaw services for such people.

    Roshni Rides Team

    Rutgers University students senior Gia Farooqi, alumni Hanaa Lakhani and new graduates Hasan Usmani and Moneeb Mian created this idea of launching a solar powered rickshaw transport system to run on route with stops nearby hospitals, schools, markets and venue of employment. Initially, they collected $30,000 in a crowd funding campaign and then ran a pilot project in Karachi’s Orangi Town this summer with three rickshaws. Gia said that Orangi Town has more than 2.5 million refugees. She said, “The four of us are Pakistani Americans. Pakistan is the biggest host country to refugees in Asia.” She added, “We are the sons and daughters of immigrants and refugees. This is very personal for us.”

    Here is the progress report released by them on Facebook:

    Hult Prize

    Hult Prize Challenge is a competition for entrepreneurs, founded by the Hult Prize Foundation. This year’s event took place at the headquarters of UN in New York. Over 50,000 applicants from 100 different countries participated and only six were selected for finale. Roshni Rides managed to pitch the idea more effectively and beat out other finalists from other five schools: Harvard University’s Kennedy School, the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México, the University of Waterloo, the University of Calgary and York University, and earned $1 million in funding.

    Roshni Rides team plans to use this prize to add 1,200 rickshaws and create 1,600 local jobs. Gia said, “Lack of transportation robs refugees of their dignity and ability to be self-sufficient”. She added, “”We’re starting at home first before we tackle the rest of the world”. She and her team informed that this initiative would not only benefit refugees but also drivers who aren’t making enough money as they themselves are poor and want to charge high price.