Asia Bibi has been driving a minivan for the past 35 years to make a living.
It is human nature that when you face insurmountable odds, you either complain and refuse to better your circumstances, or you take matters into your own hands to improve your life. For Asia Bibi, who lost her husband 35 years ago, the choice was pretty clear.
Asia Bibi, who hails from Faisalabad, is the sole breadwinner of her family. For the past 35 years, she has been making ends meet by driving a minibus around her hometown and making a respectable living in the process.
She was only 15 when she got married. However, her husband died in an accident just six years after marriage. Asia was left with the duty to raise a two-year-old boy and a one-year-old girl all on her own.
Asia Bibi’s Story
After her husband’s untimely death -who died in a car accident whilst drunk – Asia was left with nothing to support her. Instead of cursing her dismal circumstances, she decided to take a loan from her cousin and buy a minivan.
I thought if I buy a minivan, take out their seats and put my own in, then I can generate an income from it.
When I drove, boys and men used to shout at me and pass rude remarks. My biggest worry after my husband had died was that I had no one left to help me. That time and this time are still the same…nobody helps, not even your own brothers and sisters.
“If I Can Do it, They Can Do it”
Sending out a message to the rest of the widows struggling to make the ends meet, Asia Bibi said,
I want to send out a message to all the widows out there, mothers, sisters or cousins — don’t depend on anyone, get yourself in a position where you can work hard and stand on your own feet. If I can do it, they can do it.
Roshaneh Zafar of the Kashf Foundation of which Asia Bibi has been a client for the past 8 years told,
Over the past years, Asia Baji’s journey has been one of many successes. She was able to continue growing her business by purchasing a better vehicle and at the same time, she has educated all her children, including her daughters. When I met her last year she told me that once her daughter graduates from college she wants her to work for an organization like Kashf.
According to the Loomba Foundation, there are an estimated 258.5 million widows in the world. Out of these, one in every seven widows lives in extreme poverty.