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Women drivers of Kathmandu
KATHMANDU, March 12: Nepal is basically a patriarchal country where males are considered as the breadwinners, while women are expected to stay inside the house and take care of the family. However, time has changed and women have now started to break the chains and become independent. Listed below are some dauntless women tempo drivers in Kathmandu who wear the pants at home and outside.
Maya Ghalan Tamang
Tamang, 40, is originally from Dhading and has been driving tempo for 15 years. Bold in nature, she has endured and overcome lots of challenges during her 15 year career. Nevertheless, she never gives up her dream to survive and make it big in Kathmandu. “Kathmandu did not have a favorable environment for working women when I first started driving. Initially, I had to face lot of criticism from the society for choosing to become a driver. Most of my critiques included women,” recalled Tamang. She also faced physical and verbal abuse from male passengers during the night time. Nowadays, she feels that many positive changes have been made in Kathmandu where her profession is taken as a source of inspiration for women empowerment.
Bimala Shrestha, a brave and bold woman, started to drive the three wheeler after her husband fell ill. She has been driving tempo for seven years now. Shrestha has bought a tempo in installment, and earns between Rs 40,000 to 50,000 per month. She is the only breadwinner of her family, and looks after her five children as well as her husband. “Yes, it is difficult to sustain in Kathmandu, but I never lose my patience. And I’m optimistic about my job which could improve my family’s financial status and secure my children’s future,” said Shrestha.
Bimala Gautam, 35, of Chhaune is also a tempo driver who was spotted near Kathmandu Mall, Sundhara. She has been engaged in driving for more than eight years now and she currently earns Rs 12, 000 to Rs 13,000 per month. “I’m proud of what I do because I’m an independent woman,” shared Gautam. “In my opinion, every woman should be busy in something, come out from their ordinary lives and empower themselves,” she said. Gautam is, however, worried about the traffic police’s misbehavior toward female drivers.
“I choose this profession going against the wishes of my husband’s family as they thought women shouldn’t work as drivers,” said Kalpana Dangol from Swayambhu. She has been driving tempo in Kathmandu for eight years. “I started my job as a driver after my younger sister’s suggestion. I learnt driving from JCI. Though it was difficult to drive in Kathmandu at the beginning, but I slowly and gradually adopted to the work environment,” she added. She currently owns the tempo that she drives and has equal financial contribution at home as her husband.
Bisnu Maya Bal
Bisnu Maya Bal, 33, from Hetauda has faced numerous problems in her life as a tempo driver. She had been trapped in Kuwait for four years due to fraudulent agents. After returning to Nepal, she used to work at a school as a helper, but couldn’t sustain in Kathmandu. She then switched her job to become a driver. Now, she is happy and satisfied in the new field. “This job is safer and earns you more than foreign employment. So, I would like to suggest women to not opt for foreign employment, especially in gulf countries through newspaper. Nepal has various opportunities if you look and work hard,” said Bal.