These Rutgers students have developed an eco-friendly transport solution for refugees around the world

They’re competing for a million dollar prize

The UN Refugee Agency estimates that 65.3 million people have been forced from their homes, leaving 21.3 million refugees worldwide. This is an unprecedented number of people being displaced each day and has become a seemingly unsolvable issue.

But, four Rutgers students plan to tackle an enormous part of this problem: transportation. They’ve created an eco-friendly, systematic rickshaw service that will enable refugees to travel in an easy and affordable way. It’s a service called Roshni Rides, and they hope to implement it in cities all over the world starting with Orangi Town in Pakistan.

“I love helping those less fortunate in a way that empowers them to become self-sufficient,” said team member and senior Mian Moneeb.

This weekend, they’ll be pitching their idea at an international social entrepreneurship competition for college students.

Rutgers alumna and team member, Hanaa Lakhani, said, “I am participating in the Hult prize because refugees deserve the opportunity to regain their dignity, and I believe that this solution can help them achieve that.”

Each year, students are given a broad and unique problem and must work in teams to come up with a profitable and efficient solution. The winning team receives one million dollars to launch and implement their idea.

Junior Umair Masood is the Campus Director at the Hult Prize Foundation at Rutgers and he explained that the competition is “blending social impact and business together, which is a totally new thing. It’s the millennial way of business.”

This year’s challenge is to create a project that empowers refugees, gives them economic opportunity and enables them to improve their living situations.

Senior and team member Hasan Usmani feels passionate about entrepreneurship and sees the meaningful impact it can have on communities and real world issues. “I believe social entrepreneurship aligns perfectly with my personal values and skill sets,” he said.

Their goal is to make Roshni Rides the go-to affordable and accessible mode of transportation in Orangi Town, and hopefully expand if they win the one million dollar prize.

Senior and team member Gia Farooqi said the Hult Prize is “my way of combining what I love to do with what I care about. It’s the perfect blend of innovation and social change.”

Following the pilot program in Orangi Town, the team hopes to improve Roshni Rides and help restore the dignity of ten million refugees by 2022.

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