Feature

UN Women and Cairo’s Tuk-Tuk Drivers Join Together to Fight Sexual Harassment

UN Women and Cairo’s Tuk-Tuk Drivers Join Together to Fight Sexual Harassment

tuktuk

By Omnia Talal

Tuktuk driver Mohamed Shaaban was contacted by a civil society organisation, offering him a chance to participate in a workshop for tuktuk drivers. Tuktuks are three-wheeler vehicles used for hire.

At the time Shaaban did not know anything about UN Women or its global initiative, Safe Cities, launched as a solution to sexual harassment and sexual violence in public spaces.

Shaaban took part in the workshops that included 15 to 20 other drivers, where they learned to draw and express through art what women are subjected to. All drivers were selected from three underprivileged neighbourhoods in Cairo.

Training instructor John Milad said it was not easy to convince the drivers to partake in the workshops. But by the end of the training, most of them were convinced that girls and women have the right to a safe environment, free of violence and harassment.

Formerly, they believed that women who wore “obscene” clothes should be harassed.

The trainees were divided into groups that discussed violence against women and its different forms, coming up with a painting or written piece afterwards.

“I was not interested in the workshop at all. But later I benefited a lot and I learned a lot of things,” Shaaban said, during an event organised by UN Women.

He said art has made him think about the role that he can take to face negative trends in society.

Shaaban has decided to convince other drivers to take part in workshops.

UN Women chose to work with tuktuk drivers based on reports suggesting that they commit harassment, which created an urgent need to solve the root cause of the problem.

Shaaban admitted that tuktuk drivers harass female passengers but he rejected the stereotype on tuktuk drivers that portrays them as “thugs”. He asserted that the drivers are just trying to earn their living.

Milad said he realised that he delivered his message when the wife of one of the drivers sent him a message to thank him and a keffiyeh, a scarf which she made herself.

She said her husband now buys her flowers and gifts instead of beating and humiliating her.

In Egypt, the Safe Cities initiative was launched in November 2010, with several partners in the civil society, private sector, other UN agencies and the Egyptian government. It will run until 2018.

Israel Accuses Hamas of Supporting ISIS in Egypt
22 Militants Killed Day After Deadly Sinai Violence

Subscribe to our newsletter


Feature
@AswatMasriya_En

Aswat Masriya is a Thomson Reuters Foundation-sponsored website that covers Egypt's transition to democracy. en.aswatmasriya.com

More in Feature

The Egyptian Hijabi Model Shattering What it Means to be a Muslim, Arab Girl

Aya NaderFebruary 23, 2017

Trump’s Visa Ban: Where Do We Go From Here?

Kerning CulturesFebruary 18, 2017

Gender Pay Gap: Belittling Arab Women’s Efforts Because They Are Not the ‘Breadwinners’

Toqa EzzidinFebruary 16, 2017

Does Donald Trump Really Blindly Support Israel?

Toqa EzzidinFebruary 14, 2017

“We Can, I Can”: World Cancer Day Renews Hope Among Cancer Survivors in Egypt

Toqa EzzidinFebruary 9, 2017

What Trump Is Doing Isn’t New – the Middle East Has Been Doing It for a Long Time

Toqa EzzidinFebruary 3, 2017

From Tahrir to Toronto: Protesters United for a Cause

Aswat MasriyaFebruary 1, 2017

Redefine Ability: An Egyptian Campaign Changing How We View Ability

Mohamed KhairatJanuary 11, 2017
Egyptian Streets is an independent, young, and grass roots news media organization aimed at providing readers with an alternate depiction of events that occur on Egyptian and Middle Eastern streets, and to establish an engaging social platform for readers to discover and discuss the various issues that impact the region.

© 2017 ES Media UG. All Rights Reserved.