Our ambition here at Azad isto reach out to many more potential women drivers and to get Women on Wheels sprouted all over India. So we set up Azad Academy to enable women from areas where our programme currently does not operate to undertake residential training.
We established partnerships with six organisations that mobilised and selected women interested to become professional chauffeurs and transform their lives by proudly taking up this untraditional profession. Since March, ten daring women have been studying at the Academy. They took up the challenge of being apart from their families and friends to achieve their bold dreams.
All ten trainees have successfully passed exams for learner’s license after the first month of the training. Afterwards, they undertook driving lessons, English language modules, self-defense and legal training. In June, all returned to home places to take permanent license exams – and all of them have cleared it, with majority at their first attempt! Upon return to the Academy, they started on-road practice and learnt how to read maps and understand routes.
With few more months of learning ahead before being able to take up final exams and find work in the areas where they live, these women have already embarked on the irreversible road to empowerment.