Azad Foundation provides livelihoods with dignity for resource-poor women living in urban areas in India.
We are driven by the vision of a world where all women, in particular women from underprivileged backgrounds enjoy full citizenship, earn with dignity and generate wealth and value for all. We are a professional feminist organization working across religious and social divides to enable resource poor women to empower themselves.
Our key achievements over the last nine years include:
- Enabling more than 1,000 women to become employable by acquiring professional qualifications as a chauffeur in cities where there were previously almost no professional drivers,
- More than 400 women trained by Azad Foundation that we know of are currently practicing as professional drivers across the cities where we work, with their aggregate wealth generated annually being in the range of INR 4,80,000,00,
- Azad Foundation and our partner Sakha Wings Consulting Ltd have placed the first ever women bus driver with Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC), and we’re in talks with the DTC to enable many more women to become bus drivers,
- 22 drivers trained by Azad have been employed by Delhi Commission for Women’s Helpline to drive to the rescue of victims of violence who dial 181,
- More than 1800 women have benefitted from training in – women’s rights; self-defence; sexual and reproductive health; English speaking; effective communications; first aid; grooming and map reading and learning key roads and routes. The content and pedagogy have helped them to empower themselves and achieve personal transformation.
Our aim is to level the employment field for disadvantaged women by providing bold livelihoods options that enhance women’ economic status, dignity, and decision-making within their families. To achieve this, our Women on Wheels programme empowers women with minimal economic and social capital to become professional drivers. We help qualified women drivers secure employment opportunities in partnership with Sakha Consulting Wings Private Limited, the for-profit sister organization of Azad Foundation. Read more about this work in the Women on Wheels section.
By helping women acquire non-traditional livelihoods with dignity, we are ultimately developing a cadre of empowered women who become agents of change. These women carry values of inclusion, mutual respect and equality, and democratise the spaces in which they live, whether it’s their family or community.
To create a supportive environment for women to take on non-traditional livelihoods and live with dignity, we also engage with men and women in their communities through a range of community programmes.
To ensure the transformation we work towards extends beyond the empowered women and their communities, we advocate policymakers and other stakeholders to make non-traditional livelihood options with dignity universally accessible to women in India. We also advocate for the social concerns being considered in livelihood programmes for women.
Through our work we contribute to achieving the goal of economic and social equality for women in India.
HOW WE STARTED
Our journey started in 2008 when we registered as an incorporated charitable trust in Delhi. The basis of our organisation emerged from the persistent gender inequalities in India and the sheer need of finding non-traditional, high-return livelihood options for poor women in urban areas.
We started our work with funds raised largely from family and friends as most young organisations do. This was an important part of our journey, which brought in the spirit of volunteering and commitment to the team.
Since our inception in south Delhi, we have grown to other locations – with four training centres in Delhi, an office in Jaipur and one in Kolkatta. We also offer residential training to women from areas where we do not work through our Women on Wheels Academy, and have brought Women on Wheels into Indore, Ahmedabad and Bangalore working in partnership with like-minded partners.