“We want to give the women Dhairya (courage),” says Prasanna Dommu, the founder of the Dhairya Foundation, a not-for-profit that trains women to be professional drivers. She, along with Tindu Nikhat, started the organisation two years ago that aims to bring about a significant increase in participation of women from lower-income groups in the workforce.
Anitha is a 40-year-old woman living in one of the slums at Osmania University campus. To support her family, she used to work as a sweeper on the campus. However, the earnings were meagre and it was tough for her to make ends meet.
That was when Prasanna and Nikhat met her through an NGO in 2019. She was one of the first trainees to enroll with the organisation, incubated with WE Hub, to learn auto-rickshaw driving. Within two months, she not only mastered the skill of driving a passenger auto but also received her license from the RTA in the first attempt.
Anita is one of the four women who completed training and became licensed auto-rickshaw drivers. Besides, around ten women trained in driving bikes and cars have started working as delivery agents, bike taxi operators and cab drivers.
Apart from driving skills, the women will be trained in language and communication skills, basic self-defense techniques, and vehicle maintenance skills, financial and digital literacy. All these free of cost and in seven weeks.
The organisation works with local NGOs and other such entities to identify women who are in dire need of earning a livelihood but lack the skills to find employment and are most likely to benefit from its training programs.
After the training period, it also works towards making these women find employment effortlessly for which it has joined hands with a slew of startups and corporates.
“Millions of women in India come from underprivileged backgrounds and depend on manual labour for livelihood with no steady source of income. The formal loans extended by banks under various state governments’ initiatives too don’t often equip these women with skills that translate into income generation in the long run. Lack of awareness and basic skills limit such women from utilising their potential and abilities to find long-term employment and becoming financially independent,” says Prasanna, who has 15 years of experience working in diverse industries.
Currently, the organisation is raising funds on Milaap to help their four women trainees realise their dream of purchasing an auto.
“Even though these women possess a skill that can put them on the path of financial independence and secure a good future for her children, they are lacking the means of buying an asset that is necessary for income generation,” she concludes.
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