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Pink e-rickshaw driver from Uttar Pradesh wins British Royal Award



Pink e-rickshaw driver from Uttar Pradesh wins British Royal Award

Arti met King Charles III at Buckingham Palace after receiving the award in London.


An 18-year-old rickshaw driver from a village in Bahraich district of Uttar Pradesh is overjoyed to meet King Charles III at Buckingham Palace after receiving a prestigious women’s empowerment award in London this week.

Arti received the Amal Clooney Women’s Empowerment Award, named after the world-renowned human rights lawyer, at the Prince’s Trust Awards in London, followed by a meeting with the 75-year-old monarch on Wednesday.

She was honored for inspiring other young girls through her work with the government’s Pink E-rickshaw initiative, which provides safe transportation to other women on a mission to literally create change.

“I’m proud to inspire other girls who face similar challenges. This newfound independence has allowed me to see the world in a different light. Now I can achieve not only my dreams, but also those of my daughter.” said Arti, who has a five-year-old daughter for whom she bought some cake and a pair of shoes on her very first visit to London.

“It was an incredibly wonderful experience to meet the King, who was so kind and also sent his namaste to my family back home. He also listened attentively when I told them how much I enjoy driving my e-rickshaw, which does not run on polluting diesel or petrol, but one that I charge at home every evening,” she said in Hindi.

The Prince’s Trust International, founded by King Charles when he was Prince of Wales, will now transform into the King’s Trust International as it continues its work to support young people in 20 countries through employment, education and enterprise programs. The Prince’s Trust Women’s Empowerment Award recognizes the global work of young women who have succeeded against all odds and made a lasting difference to those around them.

“This year’s winner, Arti, is an inspiring example of someone whose groundbreaking work in a typically male arena is making women in her community safer. Arti is determined to create a world where her daughter will not face the obstacles she faces and she is already making a difference by her example,” said Amal Clooney, the British activist-lawyer after whom the award is named.

For the reception at Buckingham Palace, Arti arrived in a pink rickshaw, proposing not only a sustainable form of transport, but also an idea and a movement.

In July 2023, Project Lehar, carried out in partnership with Prince’s Trust International and the Aga Khan Foundation (AKF), introduced Arti into the Indian government’s Pink E-Rickshaw programme, an initiative aimed at empowering women and expanding their opportunities to earn income across the country. . Under the innovative scheme, pink e-rickshaws were provided with a subsidy for women drivers by the Bahraich district administration.

The scheme aims to increase employment opportunities for vulnerable women, especially widows and single mothers like Arti, while improving women’s access to safe transportation, thereby increasing their mobility and independence.

“Arti truly embodies the courage, perseverance and determination to succeed against all odds and is emerging as a role model for women in her village. We are extremely grateful for our partnership with Prince’s Trust International, which has enabled us to support young women in realizing their dreams and ambitions. Here’s to many more Artis – believe in yourself and never let anything dim the light of your ambitions,” said Tinni Sawhney, CEO of AKF (India), who accompanied Arti to the awards ceremony and also helped interpret for her.

Will Straw, CEO of Prince’s Trust International, added: “I am so proud of Arti for winning this year’s Women’s Empowerment Award. She is breaking down societal barriers and leading by example through her strength and determination.

“Our work in India gives young people the opportunity to build valuable life skills and find meaningful work. Through Project Lehar and our partnerships with the Aga Khan Foundation, we will continue to support young women to realize their ambitions.”

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)