Our Charity Initiatives
The Pink City Rickshaw Company – Helping The Women of Jaipur
While I was visiting Jaipur developing the exciting new Shades of Cool London designs, I was lucky enough to be able to visit the Pink City Rickshaw Company. We donate a percentage of all our sales to this inspirational not-for-profit organisation, so it was an amazing opportunity to be able to see the amazing work that they do in person.
What Does The Pink City Rickshaw Co. Do?
The unique Pink City Rickshaw initiative from ACCESS Development Services was created with the aim of providing local Jaipur women from low income households with an aspirational employment opportunity. 20 women have been given the skills to operate custom-designed e-rickshaws, and have now enrolled as company equity holders, owning and managing the organisation entirely themselves. An additional 10 women have been recruited and are being trained to join the team at present.
The company operates eco-friendly, custom-designed, unique rickshaws, all of which are driven by highly-trained, enthusiastic, smart local women. Giving tourists an authentic yet unusual opportunity to discover the Pink city’s medieval mystique, the Pink City Rickshaw Co. reveals all of the best sights of Jaipur while enabling customers to enjoy an experience unlike any other, soaking in the area’s local culture in the most immersive way.
Even better, the initiative doesn’t just benefit visitors to the city, but also provides vital economic opportunities to underprivileged local women while advocating for a more environmentally friendly method of transport, in order to address the country’s increasing levels of pollution.
Why Do We Support The Pink City Rickshaw Co. Initiative?
It isn’t difficult to see why we chose the Pink City Rickshaw Co. as the chosen Jaipur charity that we support here at Shades of Cool London. As a female-led company ourselves, we’re eager to support our Indian counterparts by selecting female-owned companies to work with, donating money from each sale to initiatives that educate local women, giving them the chance to improve their lives.
With this in mind, it’s easy to determine why the Pink City Rickshaw Company is the perfect fit for us – not least because the organisation is breaking boundaries and pushing back against the idea that driving e-rickshaws is something that only men can do. Paving the way towards a brighter and more independent future for Jaipur’s women, this company is showcasing just what women can achieve if they put their minds to it, work together, and strive for success!
Needless to say, then, it was a joy for me to be able to see first-hand just how well the project is going today, with the volume of their business now almost back to the level it was at before the COVID pandemic.
Plans For Expansion
The organisation is doing so well that there are now plans afoot to expand the operation, potentially as soon as the next season beginning in December to; Varanasi, Hampi, Goa, and Udaipur among others. These plans just go to show how well thought-out and effective this not-for-profit business model is proving to be. The potential to work all over the country brings benefits to so many women who would otherwise be struggling in poverty. The ladies’ hard work is certainly paying off, and I found it so encouraging to learn that the original ladies will now be taught how to manage their business independently so that they won’t need to recruit any new personnel. Rennu, the very first recruit, is a wonderfully capable woman and receives such amazing support from her team that it’s fantastic to see. I found it an emotional experience, and was incredibly honoured to be able to hand over our small donation from Shades of Cool London directly to Rennu in person during my visit – something that would have been impossible without your purchases of our authentic locally-made products.
Uplifting And Inspirational Stories
Perhaps the most wonderful thing about my visit to the Pink City Rickshaw Company was being able to hear the uplifting and inspirational stories about the women’s lives first-hand. Simply experiencing the camaraderie that these women have built up between themselves, and feeing the pride that they feel to be part owners of the organisation is something that I found deeply moving and extremely exciting in equal measure.
The concept behind the Pink City Rickshaw project has given these disadvantaged women from very low-income families a whole new lease of life. Women in India have long been expected to know their place, stay at home, cook and care for their children, and be second to their husband in all things. Traditionally forbidden to leave their homes, being unable to even go to the temple without being accompanied, this initiative now allows them to combine work with their normal household duties.
The Pink City Rickshaw Company is part of a slow but sure encouragement of female equality and empowerment in the country, giving women the chance to show what they can do when given the chance. Thanks to the short two-hour work slots that they are offered, the ladies who work for the project have enough time to complete their usual family tasks without upsetting their husbands while also bringing in a much-needed supplemental income for the family.
In an area where many men drink and gamble away their wages, the Pink City Rickshaw Company benefits everyone, giving women more autonomy and independence, while also ensuring their whole families can enjoy a better quality of life thanks to their ability to earn a little more money. With some of the women now even owning their own e-rickshaws, the future is bright for this project, with lots of good things on the horizon not only for the women who benefit from the initiative but also for their children and extended families.
Shades of Cool London will continue to donate a percentage of every sale that we make to this valuable charity, and I’m looking forward to returning to Jaipur again in the future to see just how much progress these inspirational ladies have made towards their bright new future!