“I cannot use the bus, I cannot find a taxi. There is no other transport for disabled people in society. As a child, her mother was forced to bring her to school in a wheelbarrow,” she said to Euronews.
The 39-year-old suffered from polio when she was young and is unable to walk as a result.
She’s been driving her motorcycle for the last seven years — and it has made it much easier for her to get from work, home, and to university. But she cannot get a driving license.
Despite no formal Iranian law forbidding women from riding motorcycles, police refuse many requests for permits. Zahara is actively pursuing one so she can drive more safely around the city.
She says that one police officer tried his best to get her a license for two weeks. He promised her he would do something, but in the end, the Head of Traffic Police told her that he can’t give a license to a woman.
There are over 1.3 million disabled people in Iran, many of whom face hardships and difficulties due to the lack of proper service, systems and policies.
Many end up spending their lives at home, instead of enjoying life in the cities. There is a glimmer of hope for Zahara, though.
Iran’s vice-president for women and foreign affairs, Masoume Ebtekar, is looking into her situation, but Zahara says she has yet to hear back.
A new parliamentary bill could change her fate. If approved by government, the so-called Comprehensive Protection Act for Disabled Citizens would reform buildings and transport facilities in a bid to remove barriers for people with disabilities.
The bill is expected to be debated in parliament later this summer.
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