Miles2smile Stories

Driving Towards Success

After the 2020 Delhi Pogrom, Saleem's life took a dramatic turn leaving him and his family homeless, and without a stable source of income.

5 Min Read
  • The story of Saleem is more than a chronicle of woes.

After the 2020 Delhi Pogrom, Saleem’s life took a dramatic turn leaving him and his family homeless, and without a stable source of income.

During the pandemic, in our relief & rehabilitation work, we helped Saleem  get back on his feet by providing him with safe rented accommodation and assisting him in running a grocery shop.

However, his earnings through the grocery shop barely covered his expenses. Following that, undeterred Salim started driving a rented auto rickshaw with a hope to increase his earnings.

Salim usually would start his day early at 5:30 AM to get more passengers for his rickshaw.  Then at 8:30, he would drop off his children at school and drive his rickshaw till 2 PM before heading his home. Thereafter having lunch and a little rest, he would again go and drive his rickshaw till 9:30 PM before calling it a day. 

With the rented rickshaw, despite his hard work and dedication, Salim could only earn a maximum of Rs 1000 on a good business day, while his daily earnings ranged between Rs 400-800. Out of which, Salim had to spend Rs 400 on CNG. There were times when he could only manage to bring home Rs 200-300 a day. Additionally, his monthly rental charges for his house amounted to Rs 4000 and about 5000 he would spent on groceries each month.

“There is too much hard work, with too much competition”, Saleem.  

On days when Saleem would work too late, he had no other option but to sleep in the open, either in his rickshaw or in a nearby garage.

Salim’s wife’s recurring health issues also added to his financial burden, leaving him anxious about the future of his children. He had to spend a major part of his income on her treatment.

Last year, he had to get medical treatment for his wife twice in private hospitals, which ended up costing him about Rs 18,000.

As his savings were sparse, he was tense about his daughter’s marriage. 

On some days, the feeling of having little to no money in his pocket made him feel increasingly anxious and stressed. The persistent financial insecurity took a heavy toll on Salim’s mental wellbeing.

Salim is a victim of 2020 Northeast Delhi violence. The thoughts of experiencing another unforeseen calamity like the one he endured, deeply affects Saleem. 

“I am at God’s mercy now after losing my salon in the riot,” says Salim. 

Unable to control his sobs, he conceded that it would make his economic situation better to have his own rickshaw since he wouldn’t have to pay the rent.  

Having his own Auto Rickshaw was all Salim wished for

Like every other parent, he too wished that his children get a good education. It is for them that he works from early morning till late in the night. If given a little support, Salim can pay an initial amount for purchasing his own auto rickshaw and rest he can pay through EMIs.

Miles2Smile fulfilled Saleem’s wish

We initiated a fundraiser last month to seek support from generous minds to help Salim buy his own rickshaw. And with your help, we were able to do so. Since then, he has been able to save enough and the entire family is happy.

It was heartwarming to see the impact our collective effort had on his life. Saleem was beaming with joy and sense of relief, after receiving the tremendous love and support from the kind-hearted donors. We are grateful to everyone who contributed to this cause.

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