India: digital technology and mechanics for women’s autonomy

The “Drive with Pride” project was initiated by the NGO Vatsayla Trust in Mumbai, India, and we have been providing them with support. The objective is to allow women to access to a job by helping them learn to drive and use digital tools, alongside developing their interpersonal skills.
 
Program women proudly pose
 
The “Drive with Pride” training programme gives women solid driving skills to start a career as professional drivers, yet perhaps more importantly, it gives them the necessary self-confidence to establish themselves in a career that is traditionally masculine and is regarded as unsuitable for women in India. “Drive with Pride” trains female drivers and helps them become autonomous business owners who can pass on their knowledge themselves, create their own business and contribute to the country’s economy.

Sanjeevani Batuskar: “Today, I’m a confident business owner”

My name is Sanjeevani Batuskar, I’m 35 and I have two children. Qualified as an electrician at ITI (Indian Technical Institute), I worked as a lab assistant at a technical institute. When my second child was born, I decided to resign so that I could look after my children full-time. I enjoyed my role as a housewife for six years, but I was ready to take on a new challenge. An opportunity arose in the form of a brochure detailing the “Drive with Pride” programme.

Sanjeevani Batuskar dans une camionnette avec des enfants
After I had signed up, I received 28 days of intensive driving lessons, as well as training in digital tools and interpersonal skills. I was successful in this training programme and I obtained my driving permit. I bought a second-hand vehicle to transport 15 children from their home to their school.

 
Sanjeevani Batuskar apprend à une femme à conduire un scooter
 
My neighbour then asked me to teach her how to drive a two-wheeler and I have since trained almost 50 people to drive two or three-wheelers.
 

It was a difficult experience in a male-dominated professional sector, yet today I am a confident business owner.
I earn 15,000 rupees per month. It’s a good source of extra income for my husband who manages a garage.
At an ordinary training academy, I would have only received traditional driving training, yet at Vatsalya Trust, Mumbai, as well as intensive driving course, I also got training in IT and interpersonal skills. Not only have I learnt how to use GPS, but above all, this training has given me the courage to start my own training project in driving two or three-wheelers.
I am very grateful for Vatsalya Trust and the Orange Foundation. I can now say that I am proud to drive.

 

Pooja Galfade: “Today I am a proud professional driver, and I can support my family financially by earning 13,000 rupees per month.”

Pooja
 
I come from a middle-class family. I have a sister and a brother, but unfortunately we lost our father at a young age. It was very hard for my mother to make ends meet. I was an average pupil with no particular interest in studying. As a teenager, I was aware of my mother’s difficulties and I looked for a professional opportunity to financially support my family financially. As opposed to my mother, I didn’t want to work as a cleaning lady. In fact, I always wanted to swim against the tide, yet lacking a qualification prevented me from fulfilling my dream of earning money and gaining status. My mother’s employer recommended the NGO Vatsalya Trust, Mumbai, which offers numerous training programmes to support initiatives in women’s empowerment. I chose “Drive and Pride” because it matched my character; I always want to do things differently, and in India, driving is not considered a respectable profession for women due to societal and cultural traditions.
It consisted of a training programme to become a professional driver. I appreciated the training in the classroom as much as on the road. It was a great feeling to sit behind the wheel. Today I am a proud professional driver, and I can support my family financially by earning 13,000 rupees per month.
I want to thank Vatsalya Trust, Mumbai and the Orange Foundation for not only paving the way for my career but also for helping me grow as a confident and optimistic person. Thank you to the volunteers from the Orange Foundation who taught me how to use digital tools, leadership and personal development.

 

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