The world over women struggles with career options. Can women be professional chauffeurs? Can they become car drivers on hire? The problem of employment is bigger in the marginalized part of society. Lack of education and lack of family planning makes earning enough money difficult.
What happens when you have migrated from one place to another? What happens when you are not educated, have no skills and have several mouths to feed?
Population control, adult education, and skilling India, all have a role to play. Only the last option will help both in the short term. Women who are from the disadvantaged part of society, work under extraordinary circumstances to earn enough for their family.
Too many mouths and not enough resources make things worse. But how can you help? This is where the work being done by Azad foundation is important.
What is the Azad Foundation doing?
Azad Foundation is a charitable trust in Delhi strives hard to fight, the persistent gender inequalities in India. There is a need for finding non-traditional, safe, high-return earning options, for economically weak women in urban areas.
But is that even possible?
Yes, and they have shown the way!
Women on Wheels is a successful flagship programme of Azad Foundation and Sakha.
Together they helped more than 1600 socio-economically weak women to become employable.
Skilling and employability in the transport industry as chauffeurs paved the way for financial independence.
They have successfully provided safe rides to more than a million women.DTC’s first woman car driver, UN’s first woman driver was all part of the Azad family.
What is nontraditional work for women?
Training women to become drivers,
masons, electricians, plumbers, etc make work options available. Skilled work in a specific, high demand niche can help women make enough income while working with dignity.
To meet the 2030 agenda for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) you need to include women. Development will only be sustainable if its benefits accrue equally to both women and men, and women’s rights will only become a reality if they are part of broader efforts to protect the planet and ensure that all people can live with dignity and respect”
Now compare the following scenarios :
Shantaben, 45 years old, lives on a pavement in Ahmedabad city. She is an unskilled worker earning as a construction worker. Her life is a struggle every minute. From access to toilets, drinking water, food, childcare, and work.
At 300 rupees per day, she works 18 hours a day at the construction site and at home.She has no energy for anything else.
Somaben, 24 years old, has migrated to Ahmedabad from Banswara, Rajasthan, with her husband and 3 young children. Somaben lives and works in a construction site in
Ahmedabad. The challenging part is, she has a two-month-old, who is at the construction site with her, while she lifts heavy cement loads throughout the day. Let alone child care, she hardly has hardly any toilet breaks.
This is where Azad foundations Women behind Wheels is walking the right path. It is giving women in a marginalized part of society, a chance to get skilled and become professional drivers. A chance to earn a good living and live with dignity.
A few examples:
Shanti is a commercial chauffer with Sakha. Quite and confident she inspires confidence in her clients.
Azad Foundation India-women cab driver Chandni, studied up to the 10th standard and now she is financially independent.
Deepali A determined young woman from Ahmedabad, Deepali has exceeded her life expectations in becoming a professional driver.
The first two stories were vastly different from the last three. The difference is Shanti, Chandni and Deepali are now skilled and have control over their life. Azad foundation helped them get financial azadi.
The Women on Wheels programme started in 2008 in Delhi. Now it reached Jaipur, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, and Indore.
Who is this programme for?
- Young women
- Aged 18-35years
- Living in slums and resettlement colonies in cities.
- Socioeconomically backward.
- School dropouts.
- Interest to learn
Women on Wheels programme helps socially excluded females, move from the margins to the mainstream economy.
A few statistics
- 2016-17, 582 women enrolled in Women on Wheels programmes across India.
- 322 women achieving their permanent license, which was a 41% increase on the previous year.
How do Women on Wheel help?
Women on Wheels give technical, self-empowerment and self-development training. It’s a way to learn, how to be a car driver.
Qualified women drivers are enrolled with a partner, Sakha Consulting Wings Pvt Ltd. They help employ female chauffers for Sakha cabs. The goal is to serve women customers with a women car driver in India.
Azad works with both government, business and non-governmental partners to give the highest quality training.
They help trainees get citizenship document.
They help them get accident insurance.
They also help them open a bank account.
They help with uniform and also registering a mobile phone number.
Self-defense, protecting themselves from violence and soft skills for communication and crowd management is also a part of the curriculum.
Testimonials from Women on Wheels alumni are proof of their commendable work.
“WHEN I WAS TRAINING, I WOULD FEEL LIKE I COULD STAND ON MY OWN FEET, I COULD DO ANYTHING. BECAUSE OF THAT I FEEL LIKE I’M LIVING MY LIFE FREELY TODAY – RESHMA, DELHI”
I LIKED SELF-DEFENSE THE BEST. WE WERE TAUGHT HOW NOT TO TOLERATE ANY NONSENSE ON THE ROAD. THOUGH I HAVE NOT HAD A NEED TO USE IT, I AM SURE I WILL BE ABLE TO PUNCH IF REQUIRED!” – MADHU PAWAR, JAIPUR
We can’t do everything all at once. What we can do is, skill those who need our help and who are willing to work for it.
Do you want to help?
Share the story of Azad by sharing this post with your friends and on social media. When women work and earn, can social change be far behind?
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